Life has been good to up-and-coming Reidsville country artist Jacob Vaughan this year.

Fresh off a January performance at the 2019 Carolina County Music Awards, the 19-year-old has taken hold of the regional country scene with a new and unique album that delivers listeners into some of life’s purest and toughest moments.

“Break Ups and Ballads” was released on nearly every digital music outlet in late February.

The live recording features nine original songs that mostly focus on the complexity of relationships and their effect on everyday life.

The album closes with “One of Those Days” — a single released last year that memorializes Vaughan’s grandfather, Jim Vaughan, who died of brain cancer in September 2017.

Vaughan first saw success with the song in early 2018 after winning the Carolina Artist Showdown. The hit was heard on WMIR-FM (93.9) in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for two months straight.

After winning back-to-back competitions,

Vaughan performed the emotional track in front of a sold-out House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., during the 2019 Carolina County Music Awards ceremony, which features performers who grew up or live in North Carolina or South Carolina.

One of the youngest selected to perform, Vaughan said he was really nervous until he stepped on stage and everything seemed to connect.

“Everything finally played its purpose,” said Vaughan, who was thankful for being treated like a professional by awards organizers who seemed to enjoy giving the little guys a large platform.

“I wrote that song to be able to touch people and to help people, and so to sing on a stage with 3,000 people in the building — it was like the song completed its mission,” he said. “I felt really thankful and blessed that I was able to write the song in his memory, and I definitely felt him with me that night.”

Challenging the

stereotype of ballads

While there is no doubt that ballads about break-ups equal country, Vaughan’s pushback on the genre’s norm is clear in his nuanced tone. Through the new live album, recorded at World of Beer in Greensboro, fans and listeners are greeted by lyrics to original songs that welcome them to sulk with a smile.

Vaughan, a recent high school graduate and current welding student at Rockingham Community College welcomes listeners to soak in life’s rough moments and embrace them as the only steps that lead forward, with such songs as “Torn,” “Worst Regret” and “Lovin’ Someone That Don’t Love You.”

“Heartbreaking Business” paints the abstract emotions that smear when the canvas of love and life goals converge.

“The fact I cared about her, that’s true,” Vaughan sang from the bar’s main stage late last year. “When she told me that music won’t get me nowhere, it became my life’s mission to somehow make it there.”

Vaughan plans to push his career to new heights after graduation next year.

When music becomes your life mission, there’s no room for waiting and no better place to call home than Nashville, Tenn.

“I’m going to Nashville to play music and shoot my shot, and if things fall through, I’ll have something to fall on,” Vaughan said, referring to welding.

“I’ve always heard — and people have told me — that if you can make it in Nashville, you can make it anywhere,” he said. “It’s too good of a shot to not take it. I don’t want to have any regrets.”

If it’s supposed to happen, it will, Vaughan said.

“That’s just the way I was raised,” he said. “If God wants it to happen, he’ll let it happen.”

The fact that people come to listen to him “blows my mind,” Vaughan said.

“I’m thankful for everybody that has supported me to this point.

“It’s just awesome to see people rally around me.”

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Joe Dexter is a staff writer for RockinghamNow. Contact him at 336-349-4331, Ext. 6139, and follow on Twitter@JoeDexter_RCN.

Joe Dexter is a staff writer for RockinghamNow and covers Reidsville, Wentworth, courts, crime and government.

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