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Meet Valerie Vaughn

Folk musician Valerie Vaughn, aka New Jersey’s Troubadour, has a vast collection of original songs about the legends and the lore of New Jersey. A musical storyteller living in the South Jersey town of Tuckerton, Valerie’s song about the falling of the Tucker’s Island Lighthouse was written long before the Tuckerton Seaport and lighthouse were rebuilt in replica. Today, she sings these songs wherever people want to celebrate the spirit of the people and places of NJ. From the Kennedy Center in DC through the folk clubs of England, her tunes and tales delight listeners. Valerie is a versatile musician who can truly play for all venues and ages.

In Dec 1999 Senator Frank Lautenberg wrote: “I was recently made aware of the extraordinary talents of Valerie Vaughn, also known as New Jersey’s Troubadour. Ms. Vaughn maintains a strong belief that history is more relevant when it’s about where we live, and so she has spent the last 20 years keeping New Jersey’s legends and folklore alive in her original songs. I truly believe Ms. Vaughn truly has the unique ability to bring history alive through the voice of an angel.”

Pop over to her YouTube or check out our course schedule to join Valerie at the Jersey Shore Folklife Center for her next course.

  • Valerie Vaughn. Singing lead vocals. Dressed in black shirt playing guitar in front of the recreated Tucker’s Island Lighthouse.
  • New Jersey Networks Spirit of the Bay Documentary
  • 2002
  • Sample of the original song about Tucker’s Island, and integral location and part of New Jersey’s Coastal Heritage
  • 1:56
  • Valerie Vaughn. Singing lead vocals and pictured playing guitar.
  • Original piece of Jersey Folk Music created with students of Ventor, New Jersey as a part of an artist in residency collaboration with Down Jersey Folklife Center.
  • 1998
  • Sample of an original Jersey Folk Song collaboration between students and artist that showcases the unique folk heritage of South Jersey’s coastal community, highlighting especially a sense of place.


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2022: Artists Residency: Port Republic School: Work with students to write the song “Port Republic, Red White and Blue” and perform it for Founders Day.

2016-2017: “Musictopia”: Valerie created a musical self-expression program for young people. Helping children of all abilities to express themselves with and through music. She held informal fun-filled classes to help light up musical interest for individuals or small groups of children.

2018-2020: Artist Residency: Pinelands HS: Autism and Special needs classes

2015-2022: Home Bound Folk Arts (HBFA): Valerie created a training program for artists, administration and participating artists.

2016 Ocean County Award of Merit: Valerie was honored to be given this award for “Giving Voice to the stories of Ocean County

2015: Artist Residency: Toms River Walnut School for fourth grades. This is where the song “Oh! Tom’s River” was created with students

1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2013: Performance Tours of England, Ireland and Wales: Valerie traveled all over England, Ireland and Wales for a booked tour of British Folk Clubs that enjoyed tales of New Jersey. Valerie stayed with fellow British folksingers for the three-week tours, who would come to New Jersey to perform in return.

2009: Pinelands Award

2007: New Jersey Governors Tourism Award Nomination

2004: Created and established the Eyre Haven Folk Club: This club is a musical venue for artists to perform in Ocean County. Local and British performers would find great listening audiences at house concerts Museums, libraries or churches.

2003: Performance on NJN: Valerie performed “Tucker’s Island” for the PBS documentary “Spirit of theBay.” The documentary was all about the culture and craft of local bay men and women.

2000: The Kennedy Center “Millennium Series”: Senator Frank Lautenberg nominated Valerie to perform her original songs representing New Jersey on a Kennedy Center stage on the Capital Lawn on a beautiful summer’s day.

2001: Performance on “New Jersey’s Talking”2001:Interview with Lee Leonard and performance of my original song for 911 “Keep Freedom Alive.” Sales from CD donated to New York Firefighters.

2000: Perform “Tucker’s Island” for the New Tuckerton Seaport.  Governor Christine Todd Whitman was in attendance.

2000: Perform “Alice Paul Tribute” for the opening of Paulsville – the Alice Paul institute and house.

1999-2000 President of the Acoustic Musicians Guild of Ocean County

1999: Performance with Pete Seeger in concert for the benefit of New Jersey’s Schooner “The AJ Meerwald”:

1999: Release of CD “Tucker’s Island Rises Again”: 2nd collection of original songs about NJ.

1998: Featured Alumni in Rutgers Magazine: Troubadour from the Shore

1998: New York Good Will games Performance

1997: Sing for the opening of the New Albert Hall: in Waretown NJ

1996: Finalist in NJ Council on the Arts, state song competition: for entry Oh How Your Garden Grows NJ”

1996: Perform for the launching of the AJ Meerwald: New Jersey’s Tall Ship. 

1996: New Jersey Folk Festival performance

1996: NJEA Earth Day Conference: Valerie was the Environmental Troubadour performing many of her Green songs before Keynote Speaker Robert Kennedy Jr. 

1995 Still Family Picnic performance: Valerie was honored to be asked to sing her song about James Still “The Son of Charity” for the Still Family Reunion in Lawnside, NJ.

1995: Release of CD “Tucker’s Island and other Story songs”: Valerie’s first collection of songs about NJ and the Environment.

1988-1995: Crisis Counselor at Pinelands HS: Valerie was invited to perform campfire songs for the 3-day campout Pinelands Experience. 

1979- 1987 Create “The Talespinner”: a musical fairytale program for pre-school children. Valerie played music for the children weekly and began to write her own songs. She came up with “The Talespinner” theme song. She moved to Tuckerton and was asked to play music for the new preschool handicapped program. She put basic fairy tales to music, made costumes and masks and created an interactive program. Valerie made it into an assembly program for school and performed for libraries and festivals.

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