In his early elementary school years Paul played piano, but gave it up as performing in recitals terrified him. He took up the trombone in the 5th grade which he played through high school -- much preferring performing with a group -- with the marching band, concert band, dance band, and Dixieland combo...
In Clear Creek HS band uniform / In CCHS Dance Band (middle trombone player) (c 1957)
He took up the guitar in about 1957, first with an old Gene Autry guitar given to him by his grandfather "Pop-Pop" Cushing, and then with a new black guitar -- black because the Everly Brothers played black guitars!
With brother Wayne (c 1957) / In Derrick grandparents' yard in Bayview overlooking Galveston Bay (c 1962)
For two decades Paul played and sang almost exclusively at parties and other group jam session settings, rarely performing and never solo. He didn't began his solo career until 1980 at the age of 40, first playing free happy hour sets at the Water Works Bar & Restaurant in Waco.
Publicity photo (1981) / First trio: Jim Keyes, Paul and Buddy Edwards (1981)
In 1982 he formed the Texas-music country-western dance band, "Paul Derrick & Waco," which he disbanded in 1985.
"Paul Derrick & Waco" playing a wedding party (1982) / Playing at the Water Works (1983)
"Paul Derrick & Waco" band t-shirt
Since disbanding his band, he has played solo and in a variety of informal duos, trios and other ensembles. He has often been accompanied by his wife, Jane, on banjo and vocals, and his younger daughter, Mary Jane, on vocals. He has also performed many engagements with long-time friends and fellow musicians Buddy Edwards, who was lead guitarist in Paul Derrick & Waco, and folk troubador John Boswell, Paul's folk music mentor.
From 1982 - 1992, and again since 2002, Paul and friends have performed each summer at the Speegleville Park amphitheater. Above is Charlie Burger and Paul (left photo - June 1988) and Charlie, Mary Jane and Paul (right photo - August 1988).
Regular gig at Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant in Laguna Park on Lake Whitney in 1986-87
Two of Paul's folk heroes: folk legend Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary fame) at the Kerrville Folk Festival (1989) and troubador John Boswell (about 1992).
In early 1988, Paul organized "Folk Nite" at the Water Works Bar & Restaurant, then a highly popular music venue in Waco. The monthly event soon became a weekly happening with help from fellow-musicians Russ McGilvray, Wade Meyer, Chris Pruitt, and others, and continued until about 1991. The Waco Tribune-Herald article by Carl Hoover below tells the Folk Nite story.
Lee VanWagner (1988) / Wade Meyer, Russ McGilvray, & Chris Prewitt (1988)
Paul harmonizing behind the "Singing Ranger" Charlie Burger (1989) / Mary Jane & Paul (1989)
Paul (1988) / Paul & one of his favorite Austin musicians Steven Fromholz (1989) / Mary Jane & Paul practicing (1989)
Mary Jane & Paul open for Janis Ian at the Water Works / Mary Jane & Jane with Janis Ian (June 1990)
Two of my favorite musicians (and people): Keith Grimwood & Ezra Idlet, better known as "Trout Fishing in America," have appeared at the Water Works and other Waco venues for over 30 years. (Photos c1990)
Paul & Jane playing a wedding party (1992) / Paul performing at SWUUSI at Lake Texoma (1988).
Singing for peace (1987) / Singing for social justice (2001)
In 1992 Paul organized a coffeehouse at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco which in 1993 became Waldo's Coffeehouse.
Paul, Mary Jane and Jane at pre-Waldo's Coffeeshouse (1992) / Waldo's Coffeehouse banner
Some Waldo's Coffeehouse performers for whom Paul has opened over the years...
Christine Albert & Chris Gage / John Boswell / Steven Fromholz
Shake Russell & Dana Cooper / Jack Saunders / Katy Moffatt
Marsha Webb / Lifelong Friends (Melody & Ray Dodd)
Emilie Aronson / Anni Clark
T R Ritchie / The Court (drag queen show)
Others who have performed at Waldo's Coffeehouse over the years include...
Allen Damron / Chuck Pyle / Cindy Kalmenson
Still on the Hill / Slaid Cleaves
Bill Ward / Lu Mitchell
Ruthie Foster / Therapy Sisters
Darcie Deaville / Kirk Edens & LaDonna Goetz / Annie Gallup & Sean Kelly
Joe McDermott / Carla Ulbrich
Emily Kaitz / Mary Reynolds & Caryl P. Weiss
Stonehenj / Greencards
Waldo's has even hosted folk legend (and Waco native) Carolyn Hester
Donna and Kelly of Still on the Hill entertaining the kids (of all ages)...
...and jamming with Drew Wenner and Paul before a Waldo's concert
Jammin' at a stop in Marathon, TX (2006) / Mini-concert at U-Bar-U Retreat Center near Kerrville, TX (2006)
Paul & Jane at Brookview Neighborhood Association picnic (2007) / Paul at a nursing home (2007)
Paul doing a kids concert at J.H. Hines Elementary, Waco (2008)
Lee VanWagner, Paul & Jane (left) / Paul, Mary Jane & Jane (right)
Storiebook Cafe, Glen Rose, TX (May 9, 2009)
During 2009, Paul, Buddy Edwards and Kristen Cervantes performed as Texas Trilogy. Unfortunately, since Buddy and Kris both had full-time jobs and many other irons in the fire, we didn't have enough practice time to develop the quality act we wanted, so we disbanded our short-lived but fun trio at the end of the year.
Paul Derrick & Friends (Jim Calhoun, Mary Jane Kent, Paul, Kirk Hunter, Fred Moss)
Friendship Force (Texans-Canadians) Dinner, Dallas, TX (April 23, 2010)
Lee VanWagner (left) / Jim Calhoun, Paul, Kris Cervantes, Garrett Cook (right)
Storiebook Cafe, Glen Rose, TX (May 1, 2010)
Since the 1970s Texas born and raised singer/songwriter Guy Clark has been one of Paul's musical heroes. Attending a Guy Clark concert in The Kessler theater in Dallas' Oak Cliff Oct. 22, 2010, was a musical trill of a lifetime. Backstage following the concert: Paul with Guy Clark (left) and Verlon Thompson, Guy's incredible acoutic guitar-playing accompanist.
Jane & Paul with 3rd grade class at Waco Montessori School - May 10, 2012
Waldo's Music Festival - jam session followed by concert - March 16, 2013 at UU Fellowship of Waco
Jane & Paul singing for a morning service at the First Unitarian Society of Denver - Dec. 14, 2014