Listen to and purchase Kevin Derryberry music at CD Baby

Kevin Derryberry

Rock Keyboards, Vocals Telluride

Born: Selma, AL

His voice is unmistakable, and his commitment to Jesus is never kept a secret. But for Kevin Derryberry the road hasn't been easy. This energetic Christian singer/songwriter has played on stage with some of the biggest names in rock music. He once was the keyboard player for Nikki Hopkins, a member of the Rolling Stones. Kevin's band, Telluride, opened for ZZ Top and played at Mardi Gras. For 18 years Kevin spent nights and weekends playing concerts in bars and other venues. So how did this native of Selma, Alabama, get from First Baptist Church to Christian music by way of 18 years as a member of a bar band? It's a long journey,a journey Kevin hopes no one ever has to repeat! Selma, Alabama, is noted more for the civil rights marches of March 1965 than for being the birthplace of contemporary Christian artist, Kevin Derryberry. However, there is more to this small town than the events of the past. Selma is a town with a deep spiritual tradition. At the center of town, stands the historic First Baptist Church. It was through the ministry of First Baptist that Kevin Derryberry was introduced to Jesus Christ. At the age of 8, Kevin accepted Christ and was baptized. Ralph and Eleanor Derryberry raised 3 boys-David, Michael, and Kevin. Though he accepted Christ at an early age, Kevin found himself slipping away from his commitment to Christ. Kevin says, "When I was 16, Dad walked into my room. He told me that he and Mom had prayed and that they were turning me over to God." That didn't seem to force Kevin back to a deeper walk with Christ. By this time, alcohol and drug abuse had led him further away from God and his family.

By the time he was 19, Kevin was living in Mobile, Alabama, where he was playing in a band. One night, after only six months in Mobile, Kevin was involved in an automobile accident. Even though he had strayed away from God and his family, he called home. His parents graciously welcomed him back. After returning to Selma, Kevin began working in a glass factory and playing in another band. He remained in Selma three years before moving to Auburn, Alabama, to become a part of yet another band. Soon he relocated to Birmingham and became a part of the band Telluride. Before it was over, Kevin spent 18 years as a part of this popular bar band. Kevin's experience with Telluride provided brushes with fame. The band was well known throughout the United States. In spite of their efforts, in Kevin's words, "Big never happened." Throughout the 18 years, Kevin heard God remind him that he wasn't where he was supposed to be. But security, friendships, and addiction kept Kevin from listening to God's voice. Soon the spiritual battle would intensify. Kevin didn't want to remain in the lifestyle he had chosen. A close friend died from a drug overdose shocking Kevin and helping him realize the tragic consequences of his actions. However returning to God was easier said than done. It wasn't long before Kevin began experiencing his own series of medical problems and was advised by his doctor to stop drinking alcohol or suffer permanent liver damage. Ralph Derryberry, Kevin's father, always believed in God's power to overcome Kevin's problems. Ralph and Eleanor prayed for their boys. Week after week, Ralph mentioned Kevin during the prayer services at First Baptist Church. Weeks turned into months, and months turned to years. But Ralph still believed God could and would pull Kevin from the grasp of an ungodly existence. Kevin knew his parents were praying for him. Kevin said, "My parents weren't bothering me; they were hounding God about me." Still they persisted. Without condemning Kevin, Ralph and Eleanor asked others to pray for him. "Somehow, my mom and dad had the ability to love me in spite of what I was doing!" God was beginning to work on Kevin, yet Kevin had serious reservations about his desire to "come home" to God. "I couldn't go back to a spiritual life because music, partying, and substance abuse was all I knew! I also believed that Jesus wouldn't take me back. I was ashamed to return to my parents in the condition I was in. Maybe it was pride. I really didn't want to break their hearts!"

At age 38, Kevin began to feel like his life had been wasted to the point where there was nothing to salvage. Kevin's friends began to pick up on his emotional turmoil. His accountant inquired about Kevin's condition, and Kevin told her that he felt he was too far from God to go back. The accountant replied, "Kevin, you're not that far away!" Later, in a conversation with a singer he had worked with on a recording project, she inquired about his condition. He responded to her with the same response he had given to the accountant. Her reply sent chills up Kevin's spine, "Kevin, you're not that far away!" Was God trying to tell him something? Later Kevin was talking with his father about an upcoming gig at a bar in Selma. His father quickly invited Kevin to join them for Easter services that Sunday. Unable to come up with an excuse not to attend, Kevin agreed to go to church with his parents. That weekend, Kevin began the short drive from Birmingham to Selma. Kevin was talking on his cell phone with a friend he once had partied with. This friend, however, had recommitted his life to Christ and was encouraging Kevin to do the same. Kevin offered the same excuses for keeping his distance from God. His friend responded with words that had become much too familiar, "Kevin, you're not that far away!" Kevin stopped the car by a dumpster in Montevallo, Alabama, and his friend prayed over the phone. Suddenly his journey home took on a brand new meaning. Kevin said, "I started talking to God, trying to explain to Him why He didn't want me back. God kept reminding me that I hadn't done anything so bad that Jesus couldn't undo it. But what about my job, my personality, my lifestyle, and my friends? If I change, how will I make a living?" Kevin said that God impressed upon him that the things he was holding onto had gotten him nowhere. So he prayed, "God, as best as I know how, I'm giving this all to You. Will You forgive me?" Immediately Kevin experienced a peace that overcame all of his guilt and shame. For once he was brand new. "Jesus always had been right there. I just had so much junk in my life, I couldn't hear Him!" Sitting by that dumpster, Kevin Derryberry realized that God had a plan for his life and that everything would be OK.

Kevin eventually continued his drive to Selma. He arrived at the bar where his band was to play and immediately was met by a friend who offered to buy him a beer. "I had no desire to drink!" said Kevin. Instead, he walked away. Deep inside, Kevin knew that his playing in bars must be breaking God's heart. He drove the short distance to his parents' home and went into his bedroom. There on the table beside the bed was the Bible he had used when he was 14 years old. Inside the cover were written the names of the people Kevin had led to the Lord during a missions trip to Arizona. God reminded Kevin of his impact, both in the past and his potential future impact. Kevin returned to the nightclub. While the band was performing, a fight broke out. During the fight, Kevin said he heard God say to him, "This is what you didn't want to give up!" But again, it was all he knew. How was God going to pull him out of the only vocation that could meet his physical needs? The next morning was Easter. Kevin arrived at First Baptist Church and greeted his friends and family and then joined his father on the second row. Eleanor, Kevin's mother, was working in the nursery during the worship service. Throughout the service, Kevin fought back the tears. But, when the invitation was given, Kevin stepped out and publicly rededicated his life to Jesus Christ. "I didn't want to turn and face the congregation, so I stood facing the front of the church. I later was told that there wasn't a dry eye in the entire church." Kevin's rededication to the Lord was a victory for Ralph and Eleanor and their friends. For 20 years, their prayers for Kevin had bombarded God's throne. "I never doubted God would answer our prayers, I just wondered when it would happen!" says Ralph.

A "new" Kevin Derryberry returned to Birmingham with many questions for God. For every question, God had an answer. Kevin likes to translate the answers he received into advice for everyone he meets. "Don't worry about your job; focus on God. Don't worry about your friends; love them, but focus on God. Don't worry about your vocation; give it to God," are the words Kevin recalls hearing. Still Kevin was concerned. How could he make a living? God had an answer for that question, too. "Don't worry about your music; I want it back!" Kevin recalls God impressing upon him. Kevin was committed not to look for work any longer but to trust God to guide him. Kevin wasn't immediately removed from the circumstances he was in. He still was a member of Telluride, regularly playing in bars. However, Kevin no longer had the desire to drink alcohol. He found himself drifting further away from the things of the past. He indeed was a new creation! Little by little, God changed his heart. He became involved in The Church at Brook Hills (SBC) in suburban Birmingham. Through the ministry of Rick Ousley and the people of Brook Hills, Kevin found himself being accepted for who he was and being encouraged in his faith. Soon his musical skills were being used to lead worship for the youth group at Brook Hills. He recorded his first Christian single, Jesus, Lover of My Soul, as an expression of his understanding of who God is and the depth of God's love for him. It wasn't long before Kevin was involved in various camps and retreats. Most recently Kevin has been performing at conferences and churches. Since giving himself to full-time ministry, Kevin has produced four Christian CDs and, in Kevin's words, "I haven't had to look for work in over four years!" Often Kevin is accompanied to his concerts by his 73-year-old "roadie," his father! Kevin's ministry is a celebration for the Derryberry family and for the people of First Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama. Whenever prayer requests are mentioned, Ralph and Eleanor are reminded of God's faithfulness in bringing Kevin back from a lifestyle that was contradictory to the Bible. Kevin now is married with two stepdaughters. He continues to perform at churches, conferences, and camps. Recently his concert at The Church at Brook Hills was a sellout. That concert was the site of the recording of Kevin's CD, Kevin Derryberry Live. Indeed, it has been a long road for Kevin. His music is an expression of his heart. I asked Kevin if he ever intended to sign with a major label. "Being independent allows me to operate the ministry as God leads. I'm not opposed to signing with a label, but I won't compromise my ministry and my calling." No compromise- that's a great summation of Kevin Derryberry!

Sources: Alabama Music Hall of Fame, CD Baby


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