From Corinth High School to the heights of the country and rock and roll music industry, Tom Mathis has lived his dreams.
Mathis will be honored as the Corinth High School Alumni Association’s 2021 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year with a presentation at halftime of the Warrior’s football stadium.
A 1972 CHS graduate, Mathis began playing the guitar at the age of eight and did recording session work with Elvis Presley while still a student at Corinth Junior High School. After working his way through college as a session guitarist where he played on Presley’s “Back in Memphis” album and on hits by Bobby Goldsboro and BJ Thomas, the musician went on the road as a guitarist and songwriter for Johnny Duncan and Janie Fricke and later for Del Reeves and Freddie Hart. He would later found his own “The Broken Dollar band” which toured until 1983. In 1993 he became staff guitarist for the live radio broadcast “The Mississippi Hayride”.
The songwriter has 23 top 10 country hits including Leave This World by Ricky Van Shelton, Shoes Under My Bed by Johnny Duncan, It Couldn’t Have Been Any Better by Johnny Duncan and Janie Fricke and more. He’s been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Sessions Player Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
Today he and his wife, Diana, live in Collierville, Tenn. where he works as director of internal affairs at Juice Plus in Memphis and continues to write and play music.
Mathis said Corinth remains close to his heart no matter where his career has taken him and he’s extremely honored by the alumni association recognition.
“I was so flattered to be considered for such an honor. I do know that CHS has enjoyed many success stories and have many candidates to choose from. I feel like my classmates are all superstars because they have always gone above and beyond to do the ‘right thing’. My hometown and CHS will always be home no matter how far that I may travel,” he said.
He fondly recalls his time at CHS where he said he learned the value of hard work and made lifelong relationships.
“Our teachers knew the students and developed a personal friendship with each of us. I was taught to never confuse efforts with results,” he said.
The son of Clifton and Minnie (Bass) Mathis and the brother of Linda Mathis (Phifer) and Dewey Knight, he said he fondly recalls many of his teachers including one special English teacher, Peggy Brawner.
“She taught junior high English and we had to diagram so many sentences that I could do them in my sleep but after her class, I never had to study for English again,” he said.
Mathis is looking forward to returning to his hometown to visit with his family and friends and is grateful for the honor. He said no matter where he goes Corinth will always be home and a special place.