"We fit together like tongue and groove, Mississippi and the Delta Blues.
Peace of mind and a love that’s true. We fit together like tongue and groove."
. . .Tom Benjamin
That’s kind of how it all started back in 1977. Suzee “Suchi” Waters was new in Nashville with her trio from Texas. Tom had been in "Music City" for a few years writing songs, and like his close writing buddies, working his way to the top of the bottom and hoping to build on that! So it goes, the learning curve is steep in Nashville.
On one particular night at the legendary bar and listening room, “Mississippi Whiskers," Tom was playing drums for Paul Craft, an RCA artist and great songwriter, and Suchi’s trio was booked to open. Since Suchi didn’t have a drummer, Tom was asked to sit in and they’ve been hanging out and hanging in ever since. You could say in the words of Tom’s song “Together like tongue and groove” or Suchi’s song “Music is our Glue”.
So how do you build a life when you’ve jumped off the deep end and are in some kind of blissful free fall called the music business. It’s very simple … you just DO IT! Suchi had her young son as her priority, which kept all the twists and turns of Music City in their proper lanes, plus she was also a potter and used clay to help ground and support her creativity daily. Tom worked about any job that would furnish him time to write and walk the sidewalks up and down Music Row. Publisher’s doors were open then and coffee was always on and free in the back somewhere. You could actually sit across the desk from one of these guys and play them a song.
Suchi began singing demos for some very successful writers and publishing companies in town. Her work got her noticed with offers to record. Tom was playing in a country band and touring across the USA. In 1978, they got married on a little farm outside Mount Juliet, TN. Music coupled with the love they share drew them together and has kept them together through the many detours and ups & downs of life.
Tom had success as a writer and then was signed to RCA as an artist. Suchi continued writing and performing and signed as an artist with Crazy Mama Records. Later they formed their own band and recorded for Crazy Mama as “The Benjamin/Waters Band”. Suchi recalls: "That's when Tom's hair was longer than mine."
With the birth of their daughter, they added additional priorities to their lives and found ways to create and thrive. Suchi built her pottery business, started a non-profit to support creative arts programs for kids, "The Children’s Arts & Ideas Foundation," and continued to sing and play. Tom earned a Master's degree from Vanderbilt/Peabody and began working in the Nashville school system with kids with special needs. He continued to write songs, then and now, because songwriting is essential to his creative purpose.
Fast forward through the years and you’d see a farm in Charlotte TN, a thriving pottery business, gatherings on the land, teaching in a rural high school, coaching basketball, raising kids, dogs, cats, and chickens! Then, when least expected, they’d leap across the Pacific to Hawaii to embrace another big adventure. They jumped off the deep end again, free falling into a beautiful culture and a way of life they figured out on the fly, until they settled in and created their new reality.
Suchi became a painter and continued her dedication to the 'Art of Living' founding the Center for Co-Creative Living. Tom earned his PhD at the University of Hawaii where he taught for many years. Still, they continued to write, sing, and record songs for their own Indie label ... SOULO RECORDS. Suchi came back and forth to Nashville, during their 17 years on Maui, Hawaii, to record her second album “Step Into The Light” which followed her first, “The Waters Edge” & Tom’s album “Beauty’s at the Mercy of this World” which were also recorded in Nashville.
Today their full circle journey has brought them back to Nashville, returning in 2016. No doubt, drawn back to Music City because of the many friends they have here and the power of song which inhabits this town. On any given night you can see/hear some of the best songwriters and musicians in the country by just walking out your front door and traveling a little ways down the road. Tom is teaching songwriting at MTSU’s recording industry program and has recently finished a six song EP which Suchi produced along side their close friend, engineer, musician and producer, Kirby Shelstad. The EP is called “Cosmic Circus Tent.” Tom & Suchi are co-creating more joint musical projects as The BenjaminWaters in the future ... Stay Tuned!
Enjoy exploring Tom and Suchi's music, videos, lyrics, and Blog (aka: Talk-Story). Talk-Story is an expression used in Hawaiian culture, it encompasses more than just sharing experiences - transcending into the realm of passing wisdom on to future generations while nurturing the Spirit of Aloha.