Zach Caruso is releasing a new EP on May 31. It’s called Afternoons With Miss Jones, and you should just go buy it now. Really. If you prefer to hang around while I prove my reasoning, then be prepared to crank the volume.  This is not Zach’s first album. He has other music out there but, like so many great musicians, his sounds had floated on without my attention before this. Someone kindly dropped the info for his new EP into our suggestion box, I clicked ‘play’, and I fell in love. With the music, not with Zach. That other kind of weird fan girl thing would be uncomfortable for both of us. Let’s start with his voice. Zach is a natural storyteller, giving us just the right amount of emotion to suck us in and make us believe the words he sings. His tone is like a color palette, capable of soulful melancholy and roaring, bluesy growls. Then there’s his guitar playing, which tells a story all on its own. Whether soft and expressive or powerful and intense, that guitar joins his vocals in driving the emotion of the song. Church is the closing song, and for me it’s the most lyrically and musically compelling. While it’s playing, all I can do is close my eyes and go inside the song. The House Jack Built is the opening song, and, damn, there could be no better opener for me. That rocking blues vibe, that little growl in his voice, the soaring cry – I am right there with him from the start. After listening a half-dozen times, all I can say is, Why isn’t Zach Caruso famous yet?” - Darcia Helle

Soundwaves Review

Zach Caruso is a musical journeyman, a fifteen-year veteran who has had his fair share of spotlights and big crowds. He has left his mark in some of the biggest east coast venues, including the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia, The Stone Pony in New Jersey, and Webster Hall in New York. It doesn’t hurt to have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in writing. Combining a cool and poised bluesy rock flair, Zach Caruso is a steady talent who offers a satisfying listen. His recent EP, Afternoons With Miss Jones, is just another mark of Zach Caruso’s musical adventure. Featuring the lead single “If Only, Anna,” a track dedicated to movie star Anna Kendrick, Caruso sings from a place with the goal of charming and putting a smile on your face. Putting together warm lyrics with folksy, summer-laced guitar work, “If Only, Anna” is a sweet ballad that shows off Caruso’s career and his knack for singing from the heart. Caruso has a wide and varied catalogue of music, along with his quirky little love song to Kendrick. “Hang Fire,” also from his new EP, has a big band flair to it that is compounded beautifully by the romp of a blaring trumpet. “Rusted Cage” meanwhile has a cool swagger to it that has the sounds of Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Black Keys, its entire soundscape balancing gracefully between head-bobbing live music and coffee shop ambiance. It all comes together for Caruso and rings aptly, combining an easy going personality with some a nice musical mix of sweet and sultry. Experience builds character, and after fifteen years, with Zach Caruso, it shows.” - Brandon Minia

24Our Music

When I first heard about Zach Caruso, a musician from New Jersey living in New Mexico writing for an online outlet called Urban Beardsman, my first thought was the witness protection program, but it turns out he just always wanted to live in mountain country.  Caruso, who grew up in Salem County, recently released his fifth album called Afternoons With Miss Jones.  The album features a lead single about the actress Anna Kendrick that offers hope to all who dream of having their celebrity crush fall in love with them. His journey to New Mexico began after he graduated from Rowan University in 2011. He has a Bachelors in Journalism and a Masters in Writing with a focus on journalism. Caruso headed down to Florida where some relatives lived and wound up living there for about four years. He wrote freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and websites and got serious about a musical career. “I had known since I was around 13 or 14 that I wanted to move on from New Jersey,” explained Caruso.  “It seems to me, there’s always two kinds of people.  People who love where they’re from and don’t want to leave the area because they have everything they need and those who have a lot of wanderlust and want to go.  I was the guy with wanderlust.” But Florida wasn’t where he wanted to be - it was too humid and had too many people - so he began thinking about relocating to the mountains. He loved the areas of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, and originally thought he would go to the Denver/Boulder area.  But when his parents moved to New Mexico they suggested he use the area as a home base until he found his ideal spot.  Once he arrived in New Mexico, he realized he had found it. “I came out here and I didn’t know what the deal was,” he admitted.  “I didn’t know if there were any musicians out here or where to go. And what I found was a very strong creative community of musicians and artists who are very supportive and were very welcoming of an outsider coming in.  They thought it was awesome that I was from the East Coast; it brings a little diversity to their music community.  There are some great clubs, open blues jams, and outdoor concert series.  There’s a lot here I didn’t expect.” Caruso’s own music is a blend of classic rock and British blues.  He lists bands like Free and Humble Pie as among his favorites, and reminds me a bit of Lou Gramm and Foreigner.  For years he has been putting out solid albums and getting airplay on radio and internet stations across the country.  Thanks to the lead single, “If Only, Anna” in which Caruso serenades Kendrick, he’s getting more exposure than ever.  It’s a cute song about unrequited love for someone you’ve never met. “I know that Anna, she’s on the other coast from me / I like to think that, given the chance, she could have fallen in love with me” The song was performed live on Good Day, New Mexico, the area’s morning network tv show, and seems to be striking a chord with the public. Ironically, what could turn out to be his breakout song was originally written as a lark. “It’s been a running joke for a long time,” said Caruso.  “In my circle of friends, bandmates, and family members, it’s been common knowledge that Anna Kendrick has been my celebrity crush for many years now.  It’s the kind of thing where any time she pops up in a commercial or has a new movie coming out, I’ll get a slew of text messages and phone calls.  ‘Did you see that your girl is going to be on this or in that?’   So, I was sitting around, writing a song one day and I had this idea I was working on.  It was a funny, light-hearted take on what if things were different and I went out to Los Angeles and had a hit song?  I thought it would be something cool to show to my friends and bandmates and they’d get a kick out of it.  After I finished writing it, I tested it out at a couple of acoustic gigs.  My dad was hanging out at one show and asked if that was one of my new ones. I said yeah and told him the story behind it.  He said, ‘I think you should record it, it’s really catchy.’  Later on, I was telling a friend from back home about the song and he said he wanted to hear it.  So, I sent him a quick demo and he came back with the same thing.  He said,’You’ve got to record this and do something with it.’  So, it’s on the record and I’m promoting it.  I’m hoping I annoy her so much that she calls me and tells me to stop!” The overall theme behind Afternoons With Miss Jones is about growing up and finding yourself in a more mature position. He explains it as having a broader scope on the way things affect him now and how he views the future.  The title track was inspired by a relationship that ended. The break-up didn’t exactly break Caruso’s heart.  In fact, he was entirely fine with it, but his friends kept throwing cliches like “you’re better off” and “you’ll meet someone when you least suspect it” — never realizing he was doing fine. All of the comments from people made him think back to a friendship he had in college.  They were just friends, but there was always an unspoken attraction between them. “I remembered there was a sense of warmth and home with her and a sense of ease,” recalled Caruso.  “For some reason, she popped in my head and I had this thought that if one day I find that again that’s when I’ll take advantage and jump on the opportunity to have something, but, until then, I’m fine.  And that was kind of the theme of the song: I’m not in a rush; when it happens it happens.  This is what I’m searching for and I know it’s out there for me somewhere.  One day I’ll get there.  I thought that was a good central theme for the whole record - this feeling of being in control of my thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and not being in a rush.  When I was younger, I had a short fuse and would react out of emotion.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to take my time and collect myself and be more in control of my emotions.  I want to have a grasp of what I’m thinking or feeling or what to say before I say anything.  And just keep myself a little calmer.  That’s sort of where I’m at as a songwriter, a singer, a guitarist, and as a person.” He’s not very religious, but throws characters and stories from various religions into many of his songs. Caruso says they help give people a good starting point — providing something people can relate and connect with.  His music also often tackles the darker side of life, something Caruso says he finds more interesting.  The contrast between saints and sinners seems to be a running theme of his. “I guess I’ve always been more interested in the darker themes because I feel those are more telling than when you’re in a good, happy place,” said Caruso. Caruso’s in a pretty good place now, although he does admit to missing the local WaWa and some of the clubs where he first cut his teeth on stage. He even turned having a beard into a writing job.  As a user of Beardbrand products, he decided to send a resume to them about their site one day on a whim.  His timing turned out to be perfect as they were looking for a new writer at the time.  He was hired and about 7 months later the story got even better.  Beardbrand itself was looking to hire a social media manager.  Caruso wound up getting the job.  So, now he’s got a new album out, feels like he’s calmer, more mature, and has a good job.  He just can never shave again.  But he’s fine with that.” - Gary Wien

NJ Stage

NJ NATIVE ZACH CARUSO RELEASING FIFTH ALBUM Singer Zach Caruso confesses that he’s going through a transition. No longer feeling and thinking like the young musician who began his career playing punk music ten years ago, Caruso says wisdom and maturity inspired his fifth album release, Afternoons with Miss Jones. “Lyrically and theme wise, a lot of the songs came from my getting older. I’m a 29-year-old guy now, and my perspective on things has changed. The idea of love, heartbreak, disappointment, and success has more of a broad scope in my life,” he says. “When I started writing, it wasn’t so much about one moment or one event, but how I was dealing with all of that stuff. It was interesting to write these songs and see that I’ve grown as a songwriter. It’s no longer, ‘poor me; my heart’s broken.’” Deeply influenced by rock, blues, and R&B, Caruso says he wanted the album to have a classic, old school soul feeling. “I’m a fan of Donny Hathaway, Sam Cooke, James Brown and Al Green, and I’ve started to appreciate that sound more. When I began to piece the songs together that I wanted to record, I had a lot of that in mind.” Caruso says that when writing songs he uses lyrics to express his feelings and process his emotions, as evidenced in “Church,” a song he confesses was the most difficult to write. “I know that the best way that I am going to be able to exercise these demons or whatever I’m going through is just to sit with a pencil, paper, and guitar and start jotting down ideas,” he adds. “I get it all out and piece it into something that tells a story.” As he explains it, the story behind “Church” was a theme that evolved into the memory of a personal relationship that had a profound effect on his life. “I had no idea what the song was going to be. I came up with the idea for the chorus and realized that I was writing about a girl from my past,” he shares. “She saved me a little bit and helped me through a rough time in my life. Even though it was a short period, I liken it to what I assumed a religious person would feel in those moments of spirituality when impacted by something bigger than they are.” The catchy single “If Only, Anna” is Caruso’s ode to his celebrity crush Anna Kendrick, whose heart the singer wouldn’t mind stealing, though he confesses that his girlfriend might not be so happy about it. “I had a conversation with my girlfriend the other day, and she was joking around and said, ‘it makes me a little nervous, what if she calls you and you leave me?’ And I said you have nothing to worry about if she calls me, I will absolutely leave you, so don’t even think about it,” he recalls laughing. All kidding aside, Caruso says he would be quite happy just to get the Pitch Perfect star’s attention. “That’s my hope; I keep putting it out there, and hope that she gets so annoyed that I wrote a song about her that she calls me to tell me to quit it. That would still make my day.” Until that day comes, Caruso is determined to pursue his passion, though he admits that it’s tough making it big in the music industry. He says receiving advice from other musicians keeps him inspired; “I asked Marc Broussard, ‘what is the best advice you can give someone like me who’s still at it after all these years trying to make this a sustainable career?’ He said, ‘if you knock on doors long enough, sooner or later they’re going to have to let you in.’ That was something that just stuck with me, and that’s what I’m going to do. I might not have to jump in a van and tour, but I’ll just keep pounding the pavement every day. At some point, something’s got to happen.” Here’s hoping that something might include that call from Anna.” - Samantha McIntyre

Best of NJ

Those slick horns, this brother’s expressive voice and his rhythmic guitar licks, makes you go ear deep in this soulful blues rock groove!”

The Dutch Guy On Air

Down to the Crossroads: Zach Caruso Discusses Life in the Music World and Relating to Quarter-Lifers Musicians deliver a piece of their souls every time they step on the stage, sometimes with the delicate pluck of a guitar string, the wild thrash of a drum, or an entrancing vocal croon. They give it their all with each attempt to reach a tender note, and although some of their audience members may forget these intense performances a few weeks to months later, the tidal wave of emotionally connecting with a group of strangers in the moment is exhilarating for every participant. It’s what drives many persistent artists and, ultimately, presents lucky listeners with immensely talented virtuosos. It gives us frontmen like New Jersey native Zach Caruso, a blues-rock aficionado who’s channeled his extraordinary gifts into a series of passion-laced albums. In his most recent contribution to the rock world, Might Be The Rain, Caruso transforms personal trials of past relationships into gritty and profoundly honest lyrical confessions. The level of openness easily perceived within Caruso’s lyrics may seem daunting to others. However, the Florida-based artist, who’s described himself as “not much of a talker” in his personal life, finds simplicity in sharing his thoughts through his music. For the inarguably versatile guitarist/vocalist, his songs collectively serve as a form of escapism — a way to truly connect with fans while getting a few things off his chest. Caruso may not be the next Eric Clapton or Robert Plant — after all, who is? — but he’s an artist in his own right, one who knows what most of us are going through and how to meaningfully convey it. Instead of typing out long-winded rants on Facebook or indulging in virtual confessions on a blog, he’s taking pen to paper, fingers to strings, and firing out exciting, rugged tunes. His albums are prime examples of what happens when a professional writer explores the art of rock music while staying true to the relatable, down-home nature that forms the core of the blues. It is poetry at its core. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that he has a near-raspy, soulful voice that will send chills down your spine as you watch him work his magic on the six-string.” - Kristen Gilmartin

GALO Magazine

Caruso’s brand of modern blues-rock is chick-friendly, mainly due to his pop centric voice. His guitar chops will lure the guys like free beer. Add in the support of alluring singer Alicen Ragonese and you have a potent cocktail. On “Rusty Cage” her entrance really adds urgency as Caruso’s sinewy, groove-heavy lick catches the ear. His guitar soars and sears on “Might Be The Rain” and his agile bassist is also a fun standout. We like how Ragonese is allowed to take the mic front and center. Upbeat blues-rocker “Nobody Knows My Name” is a dead-ringer for Fleetwood Mac. Does Caruso want to be a chick magnet or a guitar hero? That is the question that even John Mayer hasn’t quite answered yet.  ” - Reviews

Music Connection Magazine

Blues rock fans that get their hands and ears on the new CD (Might Be The Rain) are going to appreciate Caruso’s rhythm guitar grooves, his inventive riffs during the breaks, and his use of tasty hooks to kick-start and sustain the album’s tracks. A few might even say his innovative work as a guitarist is overshadowed by his skillful use of his most impressive and powerful performance tool: his soulful, expressive voice, clearly a gift from the Blues Rock Gods.” - Michelle Tomao

Raine Magazine

Zach Caruso "Shades of Blue Originally from New Jersey, Zach Caruso has been consistently impressing audiences along the east coast since 2008. Currently residing in Tampa, Caruso released his third album “Shades of Blue” in September 2012 to massive appeal. The seven track album is a full dose of blues with a healthy mixture of rock and folk. If you’re looking for an honest, well thought out album you have no need to look any further. The album begins with three battle ready songs in “Promised Land,” “I am David,” and “Come Now, My Enemy.” I call them battle ready because they are all about fighting for what you want as opposed to the typical blues albums that focus on losing something. The first thing that jumps out with these songs is the imagery of the lyrics. Caruso does an excellent job of painting pictures with his words and finding the appropriate instrumental avenues to bring these pictures to life. In “Promised Land” acoustic guitars and clean vocals are used to describe going to battle and holding out hope all “by the light of the moon”.By contrast “I am David” blends distorted guitars and damn gritty vocals to go with grungy lines like “I am wearing thin the leathers soles of the only pair of dress shoes I’ve come to own” to describe David’s defeat of Goliath. “I am David” throws out our first smooth but wailing guitar solo that leaves you waiting for the next one. While both of these songs are faster paced the differences in presentation are enough to make you excited about what might be waiting on the remainder of the album. It is also obvious that Caruso will refuse to obey the stereotypical rules that govern blues and pop music today. The result is songs that jump both feet in, are open hearted and full of originality. With the third track “Come Now, My Enemy,” Caruso takes an acoustic guitar and blues beat to belt out lyrics you’d hear from a cryptic metal band (“I tore up my history for confetti to throw down on a funeral procession at an indifferent crowd”- awesome). The album then moves into a cover of Bill Wither’s smash “Ain’t No Sunshine” which at first seemed like a really odd place for a cover. Right smack dab in the middle of the album? After a full listen though it’s, easy to see that “Ain’t No Sunshine” successfully provides a shift in the album from these battle ready songs into songs about moving forward in life. In context it is the perfect song for this spot and the album would be completely thrown off without it. And besides that, it’s a killer cover that Caruso makes all his own. He still delivers the soulful vocals that are required for this song but adds distorted guitars and an edgy guitar solo that extends a two minute track to a six minute piece of art. As mentioned, the last three songs transition into songs about moving forward in life. “Blanket of Snow” is fantastic in its approach to accomplish this change. From the first guitar note you can feel hope creeping into the album as Caruso (and backup female vocals) requests to be “covered up in a blanket of snow” in order to get a fresh start. The imagery associated with this song as off the charts (Is there a purer way to begin a fresh start than to cover your past in white snow?) and it quickly became my favorite song of the album. “The State I’m In” literally talks about moving on in life as Caruso tells us about his move from “the garden to sunshine” but also signifies a change in his mental state in looking forward. The double entendre is played out to perfection with a groove fit for foot tapping and head bobbing. The album winds down with the introspective title track “Shades of Blue” that seems to take a step back from the previous two as Caruso seems to be concerned with a setback after his moving on. The pure blues song contains a silky smooth guitar solo that is placed perfectly to signify reflection in Caruso’s mind as he was developing the song. The song is the ideal ending for the album as you can sense the possible creation of a vicious circle of fighting for love, losing love, moving on, and coming back only to have to fight again. Zach Caruso’s “Shades of Blue” displays a wide range of influences and a lack of constraints to create an album unique, revealing, and thoroughly enjoyable. Caruso combines the smoothness of John Mayer, the soulfulness of Jonny Lang, and storytelling of Bob Seger to captivate his audience. While Caruso’s writing ability brought this album home for me I could just as easily have been convinced by his musical ability is as he effortlessly pulls off guitar solo after guitar solo. It’s very often that you find an album written with uncompromised integrity that could appeal to fans of all genres and of all ages, but “Shades of Blue” knocks it out of the park. Buy this album if you like Jonny Lang, Joe Bonamassa, or Bob Seger” - Joel McDowell

Hands Off Promotions

Zach Caruso: “Shades Of Blue” - Between The Grit and The Whisper! With more than 10 years of experience, Zach has opened for national acts, and played at some of the East Coast’s top venues including World Café Live, The Trocadero Theatre, and Hard Rock Café in Philadelphia, The Stone Pony in New Jersey, Webster Hall in New York, and The Grand Opera House in Delaware. In addition, he has had his music featured on radio stations such as 93.3 WMMR and Gashouse Radio in Philadelphia, as well as a live performance on Ocean 98.1 FM in Ocean City, Maryland. In addition to his musical endeavors,Zach also has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism, and his Master’s Degree in writing. Zach Caruso’s latest album “Shades Of Blue” was recorded at Morrisound Recording in Tampa,FL. The performers on the recordings include Zach Caruso (vocals/guitar), Brad Burge (drums) and Victor Caraballo (bass).  Containing seven tracks of Zach’s blues-rock and folk-based styles, what you really find on this album is some real depth and maturity. Let me say at the outset, that I appreciate this album, especially from the standpoint of where Zach is taking his ever-versatile vocals. He manages to navigate between the grit and the whisper, showing a strong penchant for emotion, which to me is the essence of music. It’s not so important how or what you are saying, but how much you believe in what you are saying, that eventually gets across to an audience. However, if like Zach, you are able to combine the lyrical components of meaning and expression, the end result is so much more satisfying.  Moreover it is heartening to see an artist follow what he really is. Most pop stars today are just glorified karaoke singers, who really have very little to do with the songs they sing; they are just mouthpieces for writers, producers and the rest of the record label machine. I recently watched an interview with one of the latest female megastars (I won’t mention her name for fear of embarrassment), where she bluntly admitted to having no musical talent (apart from her God-given vocal chords) or compositional skills, she just sang what was on the sheet of paper in front of her . I’ve listened to her stuff, and can guarantee that she wasn’t joking at all. The reason why this album of “Shades Of Blue” is so different from many modern works is that Zach Caruso is expressing his own creations, so you’ll find more depth in an album like this, than in a megastore of what passes for popular music on the radio today. Zach is an incredible songwriter and this album displays his ability to produce beautiful music in many styles. He switches easily from rock, to blues, to acoustic-folk, and back again, effortlessly. But the best thing about this “Shades Of Blue” is that it’s intimately Zach Caruso. Here we find the mature artist with something compelling, personal, and important of his own, to say! At first listen, Zach Caruso sounds like he is singing from the gut, but he is actually doing it from the heart. Buy it now!” - Rick Jamm

JamSphere- The Indie Music Magazine & Radio Network

It shouldn’t be shocking that Zach Caruso has a good grasp on lyrical composition: the man’s earned a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s in Writing. Some might say he has an unofficial degree in Guitar. He also has considerable real-world experience, a full decade in fact, during which time he has opened for Grammy-nominated acts at several big-city venues along the East Coast. Now comes the album Shades Of Blue: “an eclectic mix of sounds, drawing on blues-rock and folk-based styles.” “Promised Land” is an energetically played acoustic track, in which the speaker sure seems to be having a crisis of the soul: “I turned my back on my closest friends / I set my life ablaze then played a fiddle as I watched it end / If there’s a Jesus, sure as hell he has forsaken me.” “I Am David” The electric guitar (and the distortion) is plugged in for the following track “I Am David.” The lyrics here also seem a tad formidable: “I am David / Life’s Goliath.” About 60% of the way through this track, we finally get a taste of a Caruso guitar solo; appetite whetted. “Come Now, My Enemy” has some violent imagery and gloomy acoustic guitar reminiscent of the slower, brooding offerings from Stone Temple Pilots or Alice In Chains. Caruso lets loose on the vocals during this chorus. “Ain’t No Sunshine” offers an earnest alt-rock melancholy. Two-thirds of the way through, there arrives this fine, brief sludge-rock guitar solo. I kinda wish Caruso would tear it up for a longer period of time. “Blanket Of Snow” has the most melodic intro so far. There’s something wistfully romantic about this piece. “The State I’m In” springs back to life with a spirited intro, and this rockin’ bounce sustains itself for quite some time, navigating through emphatic guitar chords and crashing cymbals. The title track is my personal favorite. The adjectives “sincere” and “soulful” come to mind. Caruso’s voice is well-suited to this type of music. Also dig the rhythm guitar. And, yes, at last we get a full-length solo! So how many “shades of blue” exist? Find out at: Or perhaps the answer lurks at: Ray Cavanaugh - See more at:” - Ray Cavanaugh

Skope Magazine