Paul grew up in Burkesville, Kentucky (pop. 1200) and attended Western Kentucky University where he received a B.A. in Music and an M.A. in Folk Studies. Between degrees he regularly toured and recorded as a bass player with several Americana and Bluegrass artists including Tim Krekel, Pat Haney, and Curtis Burch of New Grass Revival fame. Along with Erika Brady, he spent two years as a co-host of Barren River Breakdown, a beloved weekly radio show devoted to American music with roots. Upon finishing his graduate work in 2003, Paul moved to Nashville as Director of Education and Collections for Historic Carnton Plantation where he developed educational programs, produced temporary exhibits and a small Folklife festival, and furthered relationships and partnerships with other area non-profit organizations. Since 2005, Paul has worked with Humanities Tennessee where he administers grant and awards programs and works closely with dozens of volunteer-run local history organizations to further develop their organizational and programming capacity. He also contributes regularly to Chapter16.org, the online literary magazine of Humanities Tennessee. He is a member, and currently President, of the Tennessee Folklore Society and has served on grant review panels for the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.