Share the Music!

The Outcrops

​The Outcrops release their debut album

The Outcrops are a new band to hit the scene in New Jersey. Their album will be released October 13th.

MusicXplorer asks, who are The Outcrops?

Cassidy Rain and Bryan Schroeder are the founding members from Sussex County, New Jersey, both of whom are self-taught musicians. Cassidy is the lead-vocalist and plays rhythm guitar, while Bryan is the lead guitarist.

Prior to The Outcrops, Bryan was the drummer in two other bands. His father, a guitar player, was a big influence. Cassidy says she has always been singing, and took up guitar at the age of 14; playing a lot of open mic nights. In addition to her work in The Outcrops, Cassidy also plays in a female duo, Second Hand Smoke. Upon seeing the Allman Brothers Band, she was taken away and knew that their style was the inspiration she needed to hone in her own style.

The Outcrops formed in 2016. Their debut album, Peace of Mind, produced by Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth, is scheduled for release October 13, 2019. Their music is a flavor of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, old country, and jazz.  Their influences include: The Allman Brothers, Jerry Garcia, Eric Clapton, BB King, and Buddy Guy, to name a few. Citizen Band Radio will be hosting their album release party at Bernie’s Hillside Lounge in Chester, New Jersey. The show starts at 6:00 PM.

Soul in the music

When Jay Jannuzzi of Blue Raven Entertainment, contacted MusicXplorer about interviewing Cassidy and Bryan to promote the band and the release of the album, it was obvious he was really excited about them.  After meeting them and listening to their music, it was clear right away what he saw. They have a style of playing you don’t see everyday with new artists. Cassidy has such soul in her voice, and with Bryan’s skilled guitar playing, they are a great combination. With their songs Peace of Mind, Skeleton Key, and Lost Days, you get a true sense for what they are reaching.

Past gigs and future plans

The Outcrops have received great reviews prior to the release of the album, and won the Second Annual SOPAC Blues Challenge. They have shared the stage with John Ginty, Tim Carbone, and Grammy-nominated artist, The Alex P. Suter Band, among others. The band will be going on the road to support the album, and will be playing at Gypsy Sally’s in Washington, DC.  They will also be at the Newton Theater in March, 2020.


Trailer video of the interview with Cassidy and Bryan of The Outcrops

Full Interview

Here are links to other items of interest related to The Outcrops

Subscribe to the MusicXplorer Newsletter here


Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan

A legend in his own time

With this being the 30th anniversary we lost Stevie Ray Vaughan, we who love his music should celebrate and reflect on his accomplishments to the music world.
His career lasted only seven short years, but what a legacy he has left us. If you had a chance to see him, you are lucky. I last saw Stevie at Old Orchard Beach in Maine when the Stray Cats opened up August 6, 1989. I was near the stage and not far from him — it was another jaw-dropping experience. I made an attempt to see him with Jeff Beck at Madison Square Garden, to no avail.

Double Trouble and David Bowie

Throughout the early to mid 1970’s, Stevie was in various bands and in 1978, he formed his band, Double Trouble, with bassist Jackie Newhouse and drummer Chris Layton completing the band. The band became a staple at an Austin, Texas club, the Rome Inn. After Newhouse’s departure in 1980, Stevie asked bassist Tommy Shannon to join and he didn’t hesitate. The band was known as Double Trouble, but they were most commonly known as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.

In 1982, record producer Jerry Wexler helped the band to get a slot at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The next night, Double Trouble was at a gig at the Montreux Casino, and among the attendees was Jackson Browne, who even got up and jammed. Browne told the band they could use his studio to record for free. While recording, Stevie received a call from David Bowie,  and asked if he would be interested in playing on his next studio album, Let’s Dance. The record was a hit and started to make Stevie a name. As David Bowie was planning Let’s Dance tour, Stevie did not want to agree to David’s terms and went back to Texas.

Texas Flood and the beginning of a legacy

The recordings used from Jackson Browne’s studio, turned in to their first album, Texas Flood, including radio favorites, “Love Struck Baby” and “Pride and Joy.”  In 1984, Double Trouble recorded their follow up-album, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, the title track of the same name was a hit on MTV and solidified the band as a concert draw. The band began to play bigger venues on their own and even  headlined a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In 1985, Double Trouble’s third album, Soul to Soul, was released and by this time, their live performances were in demand and resulted in the 1986 release, Live Alive, recorded in Austin at the Austin Opera House, and the Dallas Starfes in Dallas. Stevie also admitted himself to rehab for substance and alcohol addiction.

In Step and another day music died

The divorce of Stevie and his wife Lenny in 1987 prevented him from releasing any new material. Finally, in 1989, the much anticipated fourth album, In Step, was released. Stevie was concerned that now being sober would have an effect on his playing, he was right. In Step was a smash hit with such radio favorites as, Crossfire, Tight Rope, and The House is a Rocking’. In Step was the most commercially successful release to date and won a Grammy Award. The band continued to support the album through 1990.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were invited to open for Eric Clapton at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin for two sold-out shows, August 26 and 27, 1990. Unfortunately, this show would be Vaughan’s last, as the helicopter carrying Stevie and some of Eric Clapton’s crew crashed into a nearby ski hill shortly after takeoff, killing everyone on board.

Stevie’s last show August 27, 1990 (audio only)

Stevie playing Hendrix’ “Little Wing”



Phil Varca and The SlamJammers

Phil Varca and The SlamJammers

A Blues Rock Trio from Long Island

Phil Varca & The SlamJammers, a powerful rockin’ blues band from Long Island, New York. The band formed in 1989, with Phil Varca, guitar and vocals, and drummer, Russell Stone, who have been together since the beginning.  Current bassist, Tom Porter, has been in the band since 1998.

First album and live performances

The band released their first album in 1992 “Lightning & Thunder,” an original five-song collection. The release was was met with great response, and the band was chosen to appear at The New York Music Seminar in 1992, and the 1993 South by South West Music Conference in Austin, Texas. Their first full album, Ready, Willing, and Able,” was released in 1997, a culmination of eight years’ persistence, hard work, and determination, landed the group coveted showcase slots at the 1997 North by North East Music Conference in Toronto, Canada, 1998 CrossRoads Music Conference and BluesStock 1999, both held in Memphis, Tennessee.

The band’s live shows are where they show their talent. Extended improvisational jams and musical interplay have come to define the group’s live performances and reflect their experience. They are a solid working unit that consistently delivers. 2004, saw the release of “Live at Riverhead – recorded live at the 2002 Riverhead Blues Festival in Riverhead, New York. The recording features extended versions of original and cover material and a guest appearance by guitarist, Andy Aledort, senior editor for Guitar World magazine.

Video interview with Phil Varca

Phil Varca and The SlamJammers “Don’t Push Me”

Here are links to Phil Varca and The SlamJammers


Tom Guerra- Solo Artist, Songwriter, Guitarist, and Writer


Guitarist for Mambo Sons and a Solo Artist

Tom Guerra, a solo artist, songwriter/guitarist whose credits are extraordinary. He has worked with a lot of well-known musicians throughout his career and has been in bands including Mambo Sons, The Dirty Bones Band, and The Delrays. Since 2014, he has released four solo albums, including his brand new release, Sudden Signs of Grace. The video for Sudden Signs of Grace features cameo appearances by many of his musician friends, such as, Dan Baird, GE Smith, Christine Ohlman, Jon Butcher, and Morgan Fisher, to name a few.

Writer for Vintage Guitar Magazine and more

Besides being a skilled songwriter/guitarist, he’s also known for his features in Vintage Guitar and ToneQuest Report magazines. One of his most treasured articles is his story on Andy Fraser, the bassist for the band, Free. Andy saw the article he did about Paul Kossoff, and asked Tom if he would write his story.

Video interview with Tom Guerra

“Sudden Signs of Grace” Video

Here are links to other things related to Tom


Bruce Engler

Bruce Engler-Singer/Songwriter

Bruce Engler


A Passion for Blues and Rock

At an early age, Bruce was fascinated by guitars and built his own guitar when he was just seven years old, and he has been playing ever since. Bruce is a blues-based singer-songwriter, and his influences are: Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers, and Jackson Browne to name a few. Bruce has played with many well-known musicians including, Wings’ drummer Steve Holley, bassist Paul Page from the Ian Hunter Band, and DownTown Mystic guitarist/vocalist, Robert Allen, and many more. Bruce has appeared onstage playing blues-rock music at New York City, Los Angeles, and San Diego venues for over three decades. Bruce’s songs have been featured on prime time TV shows in the U.S., as well as internationally. Bruce has also had a career in the audio side of the music world as an audio technician for music videos, movies, radio, and more. His song Goodbye was used in the television show, ZOO. His publishing company is called Twincliff Music.

Steve Holley and Bruce Engler
Steve Holley and Bruce Engler

New album- The Landing and other work

Bruce’s new album The Landing will be release November10th, but the first single was recently released titled, Not You and Me. The album will be Bruce’s first new album in seven years.  His previous two releases are Go Back (featuring Steve Holley, Paul Page, and Robert Allen) released in 2012, and Hudson River Anthology, released in 2013. The single and video from the album, Somewhere In-Between, has received a lot of attention. The video was directed and shot by Netherlands based DP, Roeland Bentvelzen.  Music features Brett Engler on Drums, Dave Hedden on Percussion, and Angus McEachern on Bass Guitar.

Jamsphere Magazine had this comment

“Bruce Engler’s vocals are captivating all the way through and the songwriting writing is just brilliant.”Jamsphere Magazine, January, 2020

Video interview with Bruce Engler

Here are links to other things related to Bruce

Video of “Not You and Me”