A.J. Croce

A.J. Croce is a piano man first and foremost, a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. His muted growl is part New Orleans, part New York, part juke joint, part soul, and evokes a continuum where John Lurie meets Lou Reed. He has released 10 studio albums on both major and independent labels, and charted 20 Top 20 singles. A.J. is the son of legendary singer songwriter Jim Croce

Quick Facts

Representation: Exclusive – US
Touring Formats:  Quartet, Trio, Duo and Solo
Other Shows: Croce Plays Croce

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Over the past three decades, A.J. Croce has established his reputation as a piano player and serious vocal stylist who pulls from a host of musical traditions and anti-heroes — part New Orleans, part juke joint, part soul. While his last album, JUST LIKE MEDICINE, paired him with soul legend Dan Penn and an all-star cast of players, his new album was born of memories — of favorite artists and shows, but mostly, of late-night gatherings with groups of friends, many of them fellow musicians, with Croce at the piano taking requests. Croce revisits these musical evenings on BY REQUEST, 12 personally curated covers that traverse decades and genres, propelled by his spirited, piano mastery and emotive vocals. It’s a tribute to Croce the music fan as well as Croce the musician that both the variety and execution is inspired, aided by a full band and horns. Available to pre-order now, the album comes out February 5 via Compass Records.

BY REQUEST is the first album Croce has released since losing his wife of 24 years, Marlo Croce, after a sudden heart ailment. It’s also the first album by Croce to feature his full touring band: Gary Mallaber on drums (Van Morrison, Steve Miller band), David Barard on bass (Allen Toussaint, Dr. John), and up-and-coming guitarist Garrett Stoner.

From sharing an obscure song by Motown artist Shorty Long, “Ain’t No Justice,” to his funky, dead-on version of Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing,” Croce keeps the virtual party hopping. While he delivers faithful recreations of such nuggets as The Five Stairsteps’ “Ooh Child” and Allen Toussaint’s “Brickyard Blues,” he puts his own spin on piano-driven arrangements of songs by Neil YoungThe Beach BoysSam CookeThe Faces and more. Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” is reinterpreted as a gospel song, and The Beach Boys’ “Sail On Sailor” becomes a trippy, rollicking ride.

Over his ten studio albums, it’s clear that A.J. Croce holds an abiding love for all types of musical genres: Blues, Soul, Pop, Jazz, and Rock n’ Roll. A virtuosic piano player, Croce toured with B.B. King and Ray Charles before reaching the age of 21, and, over his career, he has performed with a wide range of musicians, from Willie Nelson to the Neville Brothers; Béla Fleck to Ry Cooder. A.J. has also co-written songs with such formidable tunesmiths as Leon Russell, Dan Penn, Robert Earl Keen and multi-Grammy winner Gary Nicholson. His albums have all charted, and done so on an impressive array of charts: Top 40, Blues, Americana, Jazz, College, and Radio 1, to name a few. The Nashville-based singer/songwriter also has landed 18 singles on a variety of Top 20 charts. While it’s clear A.J.’s recordings and shows span many aforementioned genres, his tastes and extended influences reach even further to classical styles and world music styles from Latin Jazz to music of Africa, Eastern Europe, or India.

The late, great New Orleans piano player and Croce hero, Allen Toussaint, summed him up best: “In such a crowded music universe it is a pleasure to witness triple uniqueness: pianist, songwriter, singer and at such a level, and who does he sound like? The answer is himself…A.J. Croce.”

A.J.’s last two albums epitomize these qualities: 2014’s Twelve Tales found him working with six celebrated producers — “Cowboy” Jack Clement (Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley), Mitchell Froom (Los Lobos, Crowded House), Tony Berg (Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan), Kevin Killen (Elvis Costello, Peter Gabriel), Greg Cohen (Tom Waits, John Zorn), and Toussaint (Dr. John, Lee Dorsey) — who each chose two songs (a single’s “A” and “B” sides). The resulting collection was recorded in five cities with six different bands. American Songwriter wrote: “Regardless of the genre, Croce slides into these songs with an easy charm.”

In 2017, A.J. enlisted legendary Muscle Shoals producer/songwriter Dan Penn and an all-star backing crew that included Steve Cropper, Vince Gill, David Hood, Colin Linden, Bryan Owings, The Muscle Shoals Horns, and The McCrary Sisters for his album Just Like Medicine, which ABC News praised as sounding “like it was crafted with the influence of greats like Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello in mind.”

A.J.’s deep love for music is understandable considering that his mother, Ingrid, was a singer/songwriter as was his father, the late Jim Croce. His father died in a tragic plane crash just before his second birthday. A.J., who started playing piano at a young age, purposely avoided his father’s music in order to establish his own identity as a musician. A.J.’s relationship with his father’s music began changing around a dozen years ago, when he began digitalized his father’s tapes. One old cassette contained a bar performance of Jim Croce playing blues tunes that had influenced him. These were deep-cuts by folks like Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Blake, Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry, and A.J. was amazed since these songs were the ones that he had been playing since he was 12.

After more than 25 years making his own musical mark, he began performing some of his Dad’s songs live and forming a special show out of it. In the past couple years, A.J. has begun periodically performing a “Croce Plays Croce” concert, where he does Jim Croce songs, his own tunes, and songs that influenced the two of them. He loves seeing “the joy it brings audiences,” as well as enjoying that he can keep the shows fresh and exciting because he has the flexibility to change up the set list each time out.

A.J. Croce’s family musical legacy is just part of his very unique life story. Born outside of Philadelphia, A.J. moved with his mother and father to San Diego just before he turned two. Around the age of four, he went blind due to horrific physical abuse from his mother’s then-boyfriend. A.J. was hospitalized for half a year and was totally blind in both eyes for six years. It was during this time that he started playing piano, inspired by blind pianists like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. Croce, who regained sight in his left eye when he was ten, went on to spend his early teen years performing, including at his mother’s establishment, Croce’s Jazz Bar.

As he celebrates 30 years of a music career, with his newest album he says, “BY REQUEST is my way of inviting you over for a private gathering at my place. We listen to great music, laugh, make great food and after a few drinks and maybe a few more we end up in my music room and I start taking requests of every genre and era. The music is always fun and completely diverse. We’ll play and sing all kinds of music. Some of my friends are professional musicians, some do it for fun and many friends are just serious music fans. So you’ll fit right in.

Welcome to my home, by request, you’re hereby invited to join the party.”


Croce plays Croce

As indoor concerts gradually return to Southern California, Pepperdine University’s Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts has scheduled a full slate of shows on the Malibu campus.

Among the first few of the 2021-22 season was an appearance by A.J. Croce and his Croce Plays Croce performance. Croce’s program is an intimate tribute to his father’s life and music, cut tragically short nearly five decades ago, focused solely on the 18-month output from the early 1970s that catapulted him from coffeehouse folksinger to national sensation.

A.J. was backed by a three-piece band, including former Dr. John bassist, David Barad, for a comprehensive, 22-song set loaded with Croce hits and deeper album cuts. From the opening “Don’t Mess Around with Jim” to the touching “Time In A Bottle”- the latter, A.J. explained, his father wrote to him as a baby- the subdued and thoughtful evening played as much as a showcase for A.J.’s own distinct talent as it did as an homage to his father’s incredible work.

Jim Croce’s voice carried a signature tone, and it’s too much to ask of anyone to replicate it. A.J., wisely, kept to his own prodigious vocal ability, caring for the songs melody and mood without approaching imitation. It’s a tough line to hold, but A.J. did so with a veteran’s aplomb. And, even as Jim’s introspective folk lent itself to quieter interpretations, A.J. did take more than a few opportunities to show that he and his band could push the tempo and the amps, driving the acoustic set finale, “I Got A Name,” to a rollicking finish.

As a considerate tribute, Croce Plays Croce covered just about everything a fan could expect. With A.J.’s stories and sentiment, though, it was elevated beyond a mere musical homage. Instead, the evening felt more like a family reunion, gathering an audience that was once again hopeful, as A.J. sang, for a better day. Read more…

Larson Sutton for Live Music News and Review


What critics are saying about “By Request”

“If Elton John and Leon Russell had a spiritual younger brother, it would be A.J. Croce.” —American Songwriter

“a spirited, nourishing listen, a low-key testament to the restoring power of music” —AllMusic

“phenomenal pianist and singer” —Nashville Scene

“’By Request’ showcases Croce’s gift of getting inside a song, living within it, and imagining ways to deliver new meanings.” —No Depression

“A.J. Croce tears it up with a dozen soulful rendered, rollicking covers on ‘By Request’”  —GLIDE

“Croce’s interpretations strike a deft balance that enables him to sound reverent while adding his own musical stamp.” —San Diego Union Tribune

“It’s a party, all right, but when you go, do look your snappiest.” —Offbeat

A.J. Croce Reveals a Life’s Worth of Covers on ‘By Request,’ Shares Rendition of “Ooh Child”

Reminiscing about the days when friends used to crowd around his piano as he fulfilled song requests, A.J. Croce found the root of a new album. By Request (Compass Records) is a collection of songs heavily requested throughout the years, including choice tracks incorporated into live sets and others that are more nostalgic for the artist.

“It’s definitely a personal album in the sense that these are songs that I play for friends when they’re over and we were hanging out, in normal times,” says Croce. “There was a period of time where I was throwing these songs into my live set just so I could see if fans liked it as much as friends like it.”

Following up Croce’s ninth album, 2017’s Just Like Medicine, By Request (Feb. 2021) was recorded entirely live prior to the pandemic and pulled in his regular touring band of guitarist Garrett Stoner, bassist David Barard (Dr. John, Allen Toussaint), and drummer Gary Mallaber (Van Morrison, Steve Miller Band).

“This record couldn’t have been recorded during the pandemic, because the vocals are live, the pianos are live, and my guitar, the bass, drums, and all that stuff was recorded in a small room,” says Croce. “I don’t think it would be possible now with all those players.”

Showcasing Croce’s lifelong love affair with music, By Request criss-crosses genres from Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing,” Alan Toussaint’s “Brickyard Blues,” and Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (Neil Young) and more pulled from Croce’s archive of favorites. Staying predominantly faithful to the originals, including from Tom Waits’ “San Diego Serenade,” a song that kept Croce company while making the drive from San Diego to Los Angeles in his old ‘66 Mustang during his 20s, and first By Request single, The Five Stairsteps’ “Ooh Child,” Croce left the recordings mostly improvised, subtly deviating in some instrumentation and arrangements. Read more…

American Songwriter
“A.J. is an extraordinary musician. It was a recording session I very much enjoyed. Very roots, organic style. I look forward to making more music with A.J. in the future.” – Ben Harper.  

A.J. Croce performance offers local ties; unreleased song from his late father

Piano man and vocalist A.J. Croce has experienced a lifetime of comparisons to a father he lost at age two, whose music bears little resemblance to his own output yet still serves as a reference point despite the years that have passed. With his latest album, Just Like Medicine (released August 2017 on Compass Records), Croce reveals his most soulful and truthful work to date.His 2018 tour is under way debuting his new music including a song uncovered after 50 years, originally written by his father, but never released.

The A.J. Croce Trio performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Franklin Theatre.

His father, Jim Croce, was the golden-voiced everyman, a singer-songwriter- guitarist who died too soon, leaving some of pop music’s most beautiful and memorable ballads like “Time in a Bottle” in his wake.  Read more…

Mark Cook

A.J. Croce Talks Music Aspirations and What He Has in Common With His Father

He has a name. And it’s A.J. Croce.

The 46-year-old son of late, legendary folk artist Jim Croce will perform live in Arlington for the first time Jan. 19 at Arlington Music Hall. He released his newest album, Just Like Medicine, in August.

“It’s my ninth studio album and my 10th album, if you consider compilations,” Croce says. “I’ve tried to write different kinds of music and different genres through my whole career. So I’ve ended up in a lot of different categories. While that is a difficult thing for, you know, major-label artists who are kind of required to write the same record again and again, for independent artists, you have a lot of freedom.”  Read more…

Karen Gavis

A.J. Croce Stirs Up a Soulful Stew. But Don’t Call It a Throwback.

The soul music of the ‘60s that was laid down in recording studios like Stax in Memphis, Tennessee and FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound in Muscle Shoals, Alabama has inspired a lot of artists in the ensuing decades. And many of them have tried their own hand at recreating that distinct sound or the vibe in their own work.

But rather than just pen a bunch of original tunes in that style, singer/pianist/organist A.J. Croce wanted to get a bit closer with his ninth and most recent studio album, Just Like Medicine (Compass Records). He picked up another Penn – Dan, that is. The multi-faceted producer was an integral part of that original soul scene, and co-wrote songs including “The Dark End of the Street” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.”  Read more…

Bob Ruggiero

A.J. Croce: Just Like Medicine

A. J. Croce is a San Diego success story, a man born into roots music royalty who has now been releasing original music for a quarter of a century. His nine albums have featured his bluesy keyboards and broad musical palette, consistent for his uniquely soulful and heartfelt, old-school vocal personality. What Croce does on his newest, Just Like Medicine, is team with people, places, and even equipment from the nation’s blues heartland that were directly connected to the soul sounds that many listeners grew up with. The Nashville-recorded 10 tracks were produced by Dan Penn, who co-wrote “Cry Like a Baby, “I’m Your Puppet,” and “The Letter.” The stellar side men include the Muscle Shoals horns and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Steve Cropper on guitar, who co-wrote “In the Midnight Hour,” “Soul Man,” and “Sittin’ On a Dock of the Bay,” and played on all the big Stax hits by Otis Redding and Sam and Dave.  Read more…
Frank Kocher

The Croce Vision

Alas, the public imprint from having notable parents. I’d resolved not to make mention of mother Ingrid, the famous restaurateur, nor Jim, the famous singer who died in his prime. But in the end, I relented. Why? Because A.J. Croce recorded a song that was recorded, but never released, by his late father. It’s called “The Name of the Game,” and A.J. made a version of it for his tenth full-length album, Just Like Medicine.  Read more…
Dave Good

Soul Music is the Best Medicine (No Depression)

The best prescription any doctor could write would require 30 days of daily doses of soul music (as the Young Rascals knew so well when they gave us “Good Lovin’ ”). The last couple of years have been great ones for soul music, with the returns of Stax’s William Bell (This is Where I Live) and Hi Records’ Don Bryant (Don’t Give Up on Love) as well as the debut of one of the most dynamic and mesmerizing new groups on the scene, Southern Avenue (Southern Avenue). Soul music streams out of Memphis and Stax, and in Muscle Shoals veteran musicians and songwriters such as Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, Donnie Fritts, David Hood, and Steve Cropper, to mention only a few, have brought the Shoals back to life.

On his new album, Just Like Medicine, A.J. Croce writes a stimulating, energizing prescription of his own for some of that sweet soul music. He’s backed on this album by some of the Shoals’ very best, including Dan Penn on background vocals on the New Orleans-style barrelhouse tune “Full Up,” David Hood on bass, Colin Linden on guitars, Bryan Owings on drums, and Steve Cropper on the Penn co-write “The Other Side of Love.” Vince Gill lends his crisp licks to the title track, Jeff Taylor shimmers on his accordion on “Move On,” while the McCrary Sisters turn in some heavenly background vocals on about half the songs and the Muscle Shoals Horns lay the foundation for some soulful strutting and dancing.

Read more…

Henry Carrigan

A.J. Croce, Just Like Medicine Quotes from reviews

A.J. Croce, Just Like Medicine Quotes in 2017

“On the star-powered Just Like Medicine, the younger Croce records one of his father’s songs for the first time. Joined by a band that includes Vince Gill, Colin Linden, the McCrary Sisters and original Swampers bassist David Hood, he unearths “Name of the Game,” turning the song into a modernized soul tune rooted in Muscle Shoals swagger and Motown strut.”Rolling Stone Country

“Looking for a producer whose resume matched the album’s soulful focus, A.J. Croce turned to Dan Penn, producer of the Box Tops’ chart-topping hit “The Letter” and co-writer of songs like Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.” Together, they created a sound rooted in the past but headed toward something new.” – Rolling Stone Country

“A.J. Croce revives golden singer-songwriter era with ‘Just Like Medicine’” – Glide Magazine

“On his brilliant new release, Just Like Medicine, A.J. draws upon the smoldering, slow-dance brass of the heralded Muscle Shoals Horns, the unmistakable vocals of the McCrary Sisters, Nashville’s own Vince Gill, and legendary guitarists Colin Linden and Steve Cropper to deliver perhaps his most soulful album to date.” – Nashville Scene

“Swampy, bluesy, and a little dark at times. This album travels through some rhythm and blues, blues, rock and roll, and a little bit of country. A.J. Creates his own category.” – Twangri-La

“…it’s not just a lot of blues touchstones, this album has a WHOLE lot of soul.” – American Blues Scene

“Singer/songwriter A.J. Croce is a phenomenal piano player.” – AXS

“…harmony-heavy soul.” – No Depression

“Just like Medicine is A.J. Croce’s most soulful album to date.” – Americana Music News

“Adding to the gravitas are the musicians Croce has enlisted. With Steve Cropper and Vince Gill sitting in, Muscle Shoals legend David Hood on bass and Dan Penn (of the Box Tops songwriting and producing fame) at the controls, Croce has crafted a diverse collection of honky-tonk blues, horn-infused funk and piano-bar ballads.” – Elmore Magazine

““Full Up” is pure Randy Newman, and there are overtones of Leon Russell, Allen Touissant and Boz Scaggs scattered throughout the remaining tracks, but Croce manages to make it all his own.” – Elmore Magazine

“Just Like Medicine stands as a Croce hallmark.” – American Blues Scene

“On his ninth full-length album Just Like Medicine, A. J. Croce puts his virtuoso talents at the keyboard and strong lead vocals on display in the service of 10 soulful songs that recall the sounds of Memphis and New Orleans.” – Rock n’ Roll Truth

“If 60s and 70s soul is your thing, you will fall in love with this album. Cures Just Like Medicine (Track 4) is straight up soul in the vein of Otis Redding.” – Twangri-La

Song for My Father: AJ Croce Records Jim Croce’s Final Song

With its taut acoustic guitar, swirling Wurlitzer and soulful backing vocals, the new AJ Croce track “Name of the Game” sounds just as warm and swampy as the rest of Croce’s new album, Just Like Medicine. But this is a very special song. It was the final song written by AJ’s father Jim Croce, the Hall of Fame singer-songwriter behind classics like “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time in a Bottle,” before he died in a plane crash in 1973. The song was intended for Jim’s next album, but he never got the chance to record it beyond a demo. 40+ years later, AJ Croce has dusted off this undiscovered gem – he even had guitarist Colin Linden play the same 1933 Gibson LO that Jim used to write the song – and connected with the father that he never knew in the process.

Read more…

Etan Rosenbloom

Album Reviews: AJ Croce, Just Like Medicine

Jim Croce wrote “Time In a Bottle” for his unborn son, Adrian James, in 1971. Today, A.J. Croce has already outlived his father by 15 years and, preferring piano over guitar, has established his own musical persona. While he’s built on the Croce legacy with quirky songwriting and gritty vocals, A.J. is more Tom Waits in substance as well as sound. His latest CD, Just Like Medicine, is his ninth release, and by many measures, his most ambitious.

Adding to the gravitas are the musicians Croce has enlisted. With Steve Cropper and Vince Gill sitting in, Muscle Shoals legend David Hood on bass and Dan Penn (of the Box Tops songwriting and producing fame) at the controls, Croce has crafted a diverse collection of honky-tonk blues, horn-infused funk and piano-bar ballads. Starting out on the darker side with “Gotta Get Outta My Head,” Croce lets listeners know all is not well: “Gotta get outta my head, ‘cause I can’t stand the company.” Things pick up considerably from there, with R&B piano and horns on “The Heart That Makes Me Whole.”

Read more…

Elmore Magazine

Just Like Medicine by A.J. Croce on Compass Records (August 11, 2017 Release Date)

Swampy, bluesy, and a little dark at times are my first impressions of Just Like Medicine by A.J. Croce. This album travels through some rhythm and blues, blues, rock and roll, and a little bit of country. A.J. is a very good songwriter and singer and has made one fine album. Just Like Medicine is a tough one to just give it a one word description. A.J. Creates his own category.

This album has top notch production work that makes Take Your Medicine a very easy listen. Ear candy, if you will. Just Like Medicine by A.J. Croce is ear candy. Not just any candy either, this is some Belgian stuff. This is not that waxy chocolate that you only see on Christmas and Easter, No this candy is from the finest ingredients, hand crafted, and makes you want to come back for seconds.

This is A.J.’s ninth studio album and may be his best. Not one laggard on the entire ten track album. “I wanted to make a real soul album, but not a throwback Stax album or a Motown album or anything like that—even though Dan was producing and there are great players from that world and Muscle Shoals on these tracks”, says Croce. I can say mission accomplished.

If 60s and 70s soul is your thing, you will fall in love with this album. Cures Just Like Medicine (Track 4) is straight up soul in the vein of Otis Redding. Yes, I said Otis Redding, but this song measures up. It is a bitter sweet ballad about sadness and the cure for those feelings. It is a gorgeous number that should do extremely well in today’s musical climate. It seems real soul music is back.

Read more…

Harry Kaplan

A.J. Croce w/ Robbie Fulks in NYC; New Dan Penn-Produced CD Out 8/11

Some artists are afforded the chance to tell their personal stories as they see fit, at a particular moment when they know the time has come. But for many, there is no choice -the story emerges hardwired to the music and they become forever identified with it no matter how their story may evolve or change.

A.J. Croce has been inextricably linked to a version of his own story by virtue of his name. He’s experienced a lifetime of comparisons to a father he lost at age two, whose music bares little resemblance to his own output yet still serves as a reference point despite the years that have passed and the many iconic mentors who have stepped in to offer their counsel, creativity, and endorsement throughout his long career.

It’s curious then that it now feels necessary to include the reference, as enough time has passed that a new generation of tastemakers and journalists might not know who Jim Croce was – that he was a golden-voiced everyman, a singer-songwriter-guitarist who died too soon, leaving one of pop music’s most beautiful and memorable ballads (written about a young A.J.) in his wake.

Read more….

Broadway World

Bentley’s Bandstand: August 2017

A.J. Croce, Just Like Medicine. It’s not always easy being the child of a famous musician. It’s a lot to live up to and not always easy to make a new way. Jim Croce was a ’70s phenomenon, and his early death caught everyone short. Son A.J. Croce has made a series of albums that all found a good audience, but this new album feels like it’s the one to bring him home. Produced by soul legend Dan Penn, from the first downbeat on “Gotta Get Out of My Head” there’s an immediate feeling of release. It’s like the perfect assemblage of players has found their way into the Nashville studio, including guitarist Colin Linden and Muscle Shoals bassist David Hood, and a collection of songs were written that casts Croce in his own aura. “The Heart That Makes Me Whole,” written with Leon Russell, and “The Other Side of Love,” a Dan Penn collaboration, makes it clear this is serious business, and Croce is going all the way to make sure it works. He even finds an unrecorded song his father wrote, “Name of the Game,” to show the circle will remain unbroken. A.J. Croce’s voice is one that can wander around hills and valleys and still remain his own. He has entered that area where artists exist in a party of one. Croce is there.

Read more…

Bill Bentley

New Reviews: Eagles of Death Metal, Paul Kelly, Peter Himmelman, Arcade Fire, A.J. Croce

Artist: A.J. Croce
Title: Just Like Medicine (Compass)
You might like if you enjoy: Jim Croce, Leon Russell, Andrew McMahon
Tell me more: Bona fide talent and an independent artistic voice collectively work wonders for artists trying to escape the shadow of more famous parents. Just as drummer Zak Starkey has established himself as one of today’s greatest rock drummers free of comparisons with his dad (Ringo Starr), singer-songwriter/piano great A.J. Croce has fully escaped all but passing nods to his late father Jim Croce (who sadly died in a plane crash in September 1973 at the age of 30). On his ninth full-length album Just Like Medicine, A. J. Croce puts his virtuoso talents at the keyboard and strong lead vocals on display in the service of 10 soulful songs that recall the sounds of Memphis and New Orleans. The songs here range from the graceful bluesy grooves of “Gotta Get Outta My Head” and buoyant “The Heart That Makes Me Whole” (co-written with Leon Russell) to the beautiful ballad “I Couldn’t Stop,” the latter injecting a bit of continental jazz into the disc’s Muscle Shoals luster. The album also features a special track, “The Name of the Game,” a blues-styled song that was the last song written by Jim Croce. Never recorded by the elder Croce, A.J. Croce’s version is a true gem and features celebrated guitarist Vince Gill. Elsewhere on the fast-moving LP, guitar hero Colin Linden, electric guitar great Steve Cropper and the Muscle Shoals Horns are featured.Read more…
Robert Kinsler

A.J. Croce Premieres New Song “Cures Just Like Medicine”

The August 11 release date of A.J. Croce’s new album Just Like Medicine is just around the corner, but if you’re itching to hear new tunes from the songwriter and piano man you’re in luck. We’re happy to premiere a new track from the album, the harmony-heavy soul ballad “Cures Just Like Medicine.”

“There are many times in life that we all reflect on our choices,” Croce says. “Sometimes we’d do it all again and other times  we can’t believe what we’ve gotten ourselves into. At that dark moment, we rely on the love of a person we trust to give us perspective and a little help sorting things out. I wrote ‘Cures Just Like Medicine’ about the things I’ve done — some that I’ve regretted, some that I’ve lived through — though most of all it’s about the person that loved me enough to show me, in a selfless way, how to avoid making the same mistakes twice.”

Just Like Medicine was produced by Dan Penn and features guest contributions from Vince Gill, Colin Linden, the McCrary Sisters, Steve Cropper, and David Hood. The album also includes Croce’s take on a previously unreleased song (“The Name of the Game”) written by his father, the late Jim Croce.

Read more…

Brittney McKenna

A.J. Croce Revives Golden Singer-Songwriter Era With ‘Just Like Medicine’ (INTERVIEW)

You might not think that a Pennsylvania born, California raised young man would be so heavily influenced by the boogie woogie piano music that circulated down in the deep south of New Orleans. But he was and now A.J. Croce is a man with eight albums under his belt and a new one on the verge of being released; a piano player and singer who follows his muse no matter what genre of music it invokes inside him.

With the August 11th release of Just Like Medicine, Croce starts off with a surrealistic pillow of mind-bending inner thoughts on “Gotta Get Outta My Head” before he eases into a New Orleans style boogie beat with “The Heart That Makes Me Whole.” He sidles up to the New York soul flavored title track, does a fun soft shoe boogie swayer with “Full Up” and honors his father, the late singer/songwriter Jim Croce, by recording the elder’s unreleased “Name Of The Game.” Add in tracks like “The Roads” and “The Other Side Of Love” and you’ve got some prime steak that makes for a quite satisfying meal of an album.

Croce took to piano early, signed his first record deal at nineteen, has opened for BB King, the Neville Brothers and Rod Stewart, written songs with Leon Russell and has had seventeen Top 20 singles. And that’s only a small portion of what Croce has accomplished in his twenty year career. With album #9, Croce wanted to step back to the days of mono and analog tape. “Not to be cool or trendy but because these days everyone seems to be listening to music primarily on little devices and tiny speakers,” Croce explained recently. “In a world of amazing audio possibilities, we’re all basically listening to music on transistor radios again.” Stepping back to old days, he felt the music would sound better. With help from producer Dan Penn, notable for his work at FAME Studios, and Vince Gill and Steve Cropper, Croce has accomplished his goal.

Now contentedly living in Nashville, with an album release show at the Winery on August 10th before he heads out on a tour, Croce chatted with me about making it in music as a piano player, songs on his new album, the influence of New Orleans and temperamental pianos.

How did you turn into a Nashville boy?

(laughs) You know, I’ve been coming here since I was seventeen to play piano for folks and to write. In 2008, I moved here. My daughter was off to college, my son was going into junior high, and we just decided to try it out and that was it. We moved here, and we kept a place in California, but after three years or so we went back and my son finished high school out there and then when he finished, we moved back here. It’s a beautiful city and there’s such a diverse musical scene these days. It’s a good hub because of location and it’s fast to get here and so forth so I like it.

Read more…

Leslie Michele Derrough

A.J. Croce Records Unknown Song By His Father Jim Croce

he song ‘Name Of The Game’ was a song Jim wrote for what would have been his next album but he tragically died in a plane crash before finishing it.Now A.J. is going to mess around with Jim.

“The Name of the Game is a song I had known about for a really long time,” says A.J.. “It was destined for my dad’s next record that he never got to make. The song had been bootlegged, just him playing guitar, but it had never been properly recorded. I thought this song really fit this album. We listened to a couple of my father’s demos and final recordings and tried to treat the song with the respect it deserves — while still making it my own. At the beginning of our track, Colin Linden — who’s amazing — is playing the same guitar my father wrote the song on. You can tell it’s a Jim Croce song, no doubt. And I just love Vince Gill’s playing, so I called him up to add his musical touch to it too.”

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Paul Cashmere

A.J. Croce Records Unreleased Song of Father Jim Croce “Name of the Game” Featuring Vince Gill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As the son of legendary singer-songwriter and Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee Jim Croce, A.J. chose to not follow in the folk footsteps of his father, and instead forge his own musical path in his career.

Only after 18 years of an established career did A.J. Croce begin to explore playing a song or two of his Dad’s at shows.

A.J. was only two years old when Jim Croce died in an airplane crash in 1973, so he didn’t know his father’s music firsthand. Instead, “I came to love it in the same way everyone else did,” he explained, “by listening to the albums.” While he describes his father’s music as “part of me, part of my life,” A.J. had never really performed those songs live. As a piano player, his interests tended to favor the blues and jazz-rooted music of musicians like Ray Charles and Allen Toussaint.

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Troy Michael

New Jim Croce Song, “Name of the Game,” Recorded by A.J. Croce and feat. Vince Gill Now Available

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Press Release) — As the son of legendary singer-songwriter and Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee Jim Croce, A.J. chose to not follow in the folk footsteps of his father, and instead forge his own musical path in his career.

Only after 18 years of an established career did A.J. Croce begin to explore playing a song or two of his Dad’s at shows.

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The Daily Country

Hear A.J. Croce Sing Dad Jim Croce’s Final Song ‘Name of the Game’

A.J. Croce was only two years old when his father, Jim Croce, died in a plane crash in 1973, leaving behind a catalog of folk songs rooted in humor, honesty and hard-won wisdom. Some of those songs became posthumous hits. Others, like “Name of the Game,” would go undiscovered for nearly 50 years.

Rolling Stone’s definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

On the star-powered Just Like Medicine, the younger Croce records one of his father’s songs for the first time. Joined by a band that includes Vince Gill, Colin Linden, the McCrary Sisters and original Swampers bassist David Hood, he unearths “Name of the Game,” turning the song into a modernized soul tune rooted in Muscle Shoals swagger and Motown strut.

“The song was meant to be on the follow-up album to I Got A Name,” he says, “although unfortunately it was never recorded or released until now – and by me. I’ve never had any intention of recording my father’s music. I like it and enjoy playing it from time to time, but this was different. This was a way that I could collaborate with my dad, who I never knew, and play an active role of interpreting the music. It felt right: a tribute and a collaboration.”

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Robert Crawford

Just Like Medicine: A Conversation With And Premiere By A.J. Croce

According to A.J. Croce…

“Leon and I wrote many songs together and I don’t think we were in the same room to co-write but once. We had a formula that worked for us: I’d write the music, and sing the melody on my iPhone—wherever I was—and Leon would write back with lyrics—wherever he was. On a couple occasions, I’d write a chorus [‘Rollin’ On’] but they were usually place holders until Leon got the music. ‘The Heart That Makes Me Whole’ started as ‘Angel in the Darkness.’ A couple hours after sending the music and melody, I’d have eight verses and a couple of chorus options; sometimes a bridge if I wrote music for one. He was a fast writer if he liked the music.

“‘The Heart That Makes Me Whole’ took more work than anything else we ever wrote. In the end, his verse and bridge lyrics are almost exactly what he sent me the first day except a small change here or there, and I came up with the title line ‘The Heart That Makes Me Whole’ after the first one didn’t sing quite right. Every song got auditioned by Dan Penn for this album. I didn’t tell him who wrote it or when it was from, so each tune was chosen on its own merit. I had really hoped that Leon would be on the session playing organ with us but sadly, he passed before we recorded and it was a little bitter sweet not having him with us.

“In putting the band together for this song, Leon was on my mind the whole time. It had to be soulful but not too slick. We had a great band including the Muscle Shoals Horns and The McCrary Sisters. We were already rolling, so the only person I thought that was missing was Steve Cropper. It had been awhile since we had seen each other and it was a sweet reunion.”

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Mike Ragogna

A.J. Croce: Genres blend, but the music stays soulful

A.J. Croce calls his work “American music,” but with his own twist.

“I sing soul music. Anything soulful I’m interested in, whether its country or pop or blues or rock and roll,” Croce said, from his new home in Nashville. He and his wife moved from their long-time residence in San Diego this summer.

The son of the late Jim Croce, A.J. performs his own original music, he said, and each of his seven albums is a different genre. The versatile artist is not sure what mix of music he will perform when he appears at the Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art on Oct. 2. He decides at the last minute.

“Every concert performer plays at least one song by someone else, maybe I’ll do a Hank Williams or a Beatles song, or a brand new song by a pop artist. It depends on the moment,” he said.

He may play some of his father’s “stuff,” he said. “It depends on the show. A certain part of the audience appreciates that and I’m there to make them happy.”

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Carrie Humphreys

Revisit A.J. Croce’s Classic Album With The Soulful Track, “That’s Me In The Bar”

A.J. Croce is living proof that musical talent runs in the veins. Though Croce is the son of legendary performer Jim Croce, who topped the charts with his hit, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” he didn’t grow up under his father’s artistic influence;  tragically, the elder Croce was killed in a plane crash when A.J. was only two years old. But A.J. was already showing talent at the piano at the age of six, and by the time he turned 17, his future as a performer was clear.

In 1995 A.J. cemented his own legacy with the release of his album, That’s Me In The Bar. Now, for its 20th Anniversary, Compass Records is re-releasing the genre-spanning album along with a previously unreleased bonus track, “If You Want Me to Stay,” which Croce re-recorded for the release with some talented pals, including David Hidalgo from Los Lobos and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame.

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Elmore Magazine

A.J. Croce Revisits the “Bar” on 20th-Anniversary reissue

A.J. Croce’s 1995 sophomore album, That’s Me in the Bar, ranks high on the list of “most New Orleans-sounding albums not made in New Orleans.” This week the Compass label plans a 20th-anniversary reissue of the album, adding a bonus track “If You Want Me to Stay” (yes, a cover of the Sly & the Family Stone classic) to the original 12 tracks, all written by Croce.

Local influences ran deep on Croce’s album, which was recorded with a heavyweight cast including Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo, legendary guitarist Ry Cooder, and the great studio drummer Jim Keltner who also produced. A number of reviewers, including All Music Guide’s Scott Yanow, noted Croce’s vocal similarity to Dr. John. Though more a critical than a commercial hit, the album gave the 24-year-old Croce a musical identity much different from his father, the late troubadour Jim Croce.

A.J. did eventually record in New Orleans. Last year’s album Twelve Tales features two tracks each with six notable producers, Allen Toussaint among them.

Review link

Brett Milano

NPR’s WWNO Airing 90 minute A.J. Croce Interview

barring breaking news — the AJ Croce interview on Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins is scheduled to run on WWNO 89.9 FM Thursday (tomorrow) at 7 pm CT and again on Saturday at noon. Next week it will run on CIUT-Toronto Canada and KRVS-Lafayette. The show will also be available in perpetuity on our website: www.musicinsideout.org.
Mr. Croce was WONDERFUL.  The interview will feature live performances he made in the studio with us, recorded music from his current and past albums, as well as tape from his performance at the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans. At the Mint, he performed with clarinetist Evan Christopher and the great Allen Toussaint.

Twelve Tales from A.J. Croce

“A.J. Croce returns to Austin on Saturday at the Strange Brew thanks to February’s Twelve Tales. His father Jim Croce (“Time in a Bottle,” “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown”) died in a 1973 plane crash when he was 2, but A.J. Croce’s been his own musician since the beginning, a dynamic performer and songwriter moving from blues to pop with ease and skill.

“Now 42, Croce’s enjoyed a long, sustaining career as a musician and songwriter of his own renown. Twelve Tales took a year to record with six different producers, including “Cowboy” Jack Clement (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash), Allen Toussaint (Dr. John, Paul McCartney), and Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Los Lobos). There’s also his co-write with Leon Russell, “Rollin’ On.”…”

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William Harries Graham, The Austin Chronicle

A.J. Croce and the Musician He Has Come to Be

“There are certain expectations that come with a storied family name – often filled with anticipation and comparison. This is a natural occurrence in many professions but perhaps nowhere are those hopes so high as with the son or daughter of a famous entertainer….”

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Annette Crawford, Rivard Report

A.J. Croce to Play a Pair of Shows in New Orleans in July

Stephen Maloney

A.J. Croce, Rockwood Music Hall (New York, NY) Live Show Review

“It is easy to imagine that after years of consistent writing and recording, Croce is on the brink of tipping the scales of critical and popular appreciation. In his live show and in his recordings Croce’s formidable talents as a writer and player are undeniable…”

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Eric Russ, Elmore Magazine


A.j. Croce’s Croce Plays Croce show features the songs of his father, Jim Croce, as well as his own music.

Click here for more information about the Croce Plays Croce show




8/12/2022 Center for the Arts of Homer
Homer, NY
8/27/2022 Elm Street Event Green
Woodstock, GA
9/09/2022 The Walker Center
50th Anniversary tour - You Don't Mess Around With Jim
Wilkesboro , NC
9/14/2022 Gogue Performing Arts Center
Auburn, AL
10/07/2022 Macomb Center for the Performing Arts
50th Anniversary tour - You Don't Mess Around With Jim
Clinton Township, MI
10/16/2022 Cary Hall
Lexington, MA
11/19/2022 The Vista Center for the Arts
Croce Plays Croce
Surprise, AZ
2/23/2023 Capitol Center for The Arts
Concord, NH
3/04/2023 Tarrytown Music Hall
Tarrytown, NY
3/05/2023 Sacred Heart Community Theatre
Fairfield, CT
5/26/2023 Yavapai College
Croce Plays Croce
Prescott, AZ

A.J. Croce is a singer-songwriter, musicologist, and boogie woogie piano player who’s very well versed all genres of American music. A.J. can offer seminars on the history of American music, on the history of piano playing, and how to play piano. He’s done master classes, workshops, and educational programs for adults and children in many settings around the world including at festivals and K-12 schools, as well as the University of Barcelona in Spain where he did a seminar with Masters student’s talking to them about American music and the development and change in composition.