Croce Plays Croce

2022 – Special Show! 50th Anniversary of You Don’t Mess Around With Jim

New for 2023 – Just Announced! 50th Anniversary of Life & Times and I Got a Name

“Croce Plays Croce” features a complete set of classics by his father Jim Croce, some of his own tunes, and songs that influenced both him and his father. The show often includes such timeless songs as “Operator,” “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Workin’ At the Car Wash Blues,” “Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy), “One Less Set of Footsteps,” “Lovers Cross,” and “Box #10,” to name a few.

 

Quick Facts

Representation: Exclusive – US
Touring Formats:  Quartet for Croce Plays Croce shows, Septet for 50th Anniversary shows

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A.J. Croce performs Croce Plays Croce, a special night of music featuring a complete set of classics by his late father Jim Croce, some of his own tunes, and songs that influenced both him and his father. This special event features such timeless songs as “Operator,” “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Time in a Bottle,” (a song written for A.J.), “Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy), and “Lovers Cross”, to name a few. Throughout the evening, A.J. speaks on his musical connection to his father, painting a picture for the audience of family, artistry, and memory.

Jim Croce was an American folk singer with a short-lived professional recording and touring career, and decades of posthumous fame as one of the greatest songwriters and artists ever, with sales surpassing 50 million records, including three #1 songs and 10 Top 10 hits.

A.J. Croce’s 25-year touring and recording career has produced nine studio albums that have been released via both major and independent labels, and have charted 18 Top 20 singles and all nine albums on the radio including on Top 40, Americana, and Blues. A virtuoso piano player, Croce has toured with such esteemed artists as Willie Nelson, Lenny Kravitz, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and B.B. King. A.J.’s latest album project Just Like Medicine, out on Compass Records, features Vince Gill and Steve Cropper, and was produced by Muscle Shoals legend Dan Penn.

A.J. Croce

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. On his new single “So Much Fun” (co-written with Gary Nicholson) he handles lead vocal and rollicking piano with an irresistible New Orleans loose-and-easy style.
While his 2017 album, JUST LIKE MEDICINE, paired him with soul legend Dan Penn and an all-star cast of players, his newest 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. Available now, 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.

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 his previous 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 Young, The Beach Boys, Sam Cooke, The 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. The Nashville-based singer/songwriter also has landed 20 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 few 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 15 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, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, 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 few years, A.J. has begun periodically performing a “Croce Plays Croce” concert, where he shares stories & songs of Jim Croce, his own tunes, and covers 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. In Fall of 2022 he debuts the 50th Anniversary of You Don’t Mess Around With Jim concert (on a U.S. tour), a special edition of Croce Plays Croce, performing that debut Jim Croce album completely, incorporating video projection, and a larger ensemble.

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 BY REQUEST and single “So Much Fun” is his way of inviting you over for a private gathering at his place. He says, 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

by Larson Sutton, for Live Music News and Review

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 folk
singer to national sensation.

read more…

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to Honor Jim Croce’s Legacy

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will honor the legacy of famous guitarist Jim Croce by formally marking the barn in Lyndell where he wrote his songs, writes Michael Dolan for Main Line Today.

A blue historical marker will be placed near a farmhouse overlooking the Brandywine River, where Croce lived with his wife, Ingrid, from 1970 to 1972. During that time, the pair enjoyed a period of creativity and entertaining with famous guests like James Taylor and Arlo Guthrie.

Croce, who grew up in Upper Darby, also wrote some of his best-known songs there, including “Operator,” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” and “Photographs and Memories.”

The musician died suddenly at the age of 30 in a plane crash. His last song, “Time in a Bottle,” was written a few months prior to his death. It became a No. 1 hit after the accident, in part due to its hauntingly poignant lyrics: “If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do, is to save every day until eternity passes away, just to spend them with you.”

Read more about Jim Croce in Main Line Today here.

 

‘CROCE PLAYS CROCE’ BRINGS THE MUSIC OF FAMOUS FATHER AND SON TO LAYTON

A.J. Croce is no stranger to tragedy.

His father, the famed singer-songwriter Jim Croce, died in a plane crash just eight days before Adrian James Croce’s second birthday. Two years later, Croce would lose his eyesight, and although he would eventually regain some limited vision in one eye, he took to the piano in the meantime and said his early influences became Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.

Still, with all he’s been through, Croce says 2018 was the worst year of his life. In the midst of a serious health issue of his own, Croce lost his wife of nearly three decades, Marlo Croce, to a sudden, rare virus.

“Her passing was literally overnight,” Croce told the Standard-Examiner in a phone interview from his Nashville, Tenn., home. “She left Nashville, left healthy, and passed away the next day from a virus. I was, as far as my career went, fine. But as far as my personal life, I was devastated.”  Read more….

Mark Saal – Standard Examiner

Croce Plays Croce – City Winery D.C.

A.J. Croce plays timeless barrelhouse boogie-woogie. Born musical royalty, son of the legendary Jim Croce, A.J. has tapped into something even older and deeper: He belongs to the tradition of bards and troubadours that extends back at least as far as Homer. Read more….
Mark Engleson

Discovering a deep connection, A.J. Croce honors dad with tribute show

Jim Croce’s music connected with so many people — even though he recorded and toured his albums all in the last 18 months of his life.
His son, A.J. Croce, became a successful musician himself — with nine albums garnering 18 top 20 singles and spanning decades. He never really knew his father, but he discovered a deep connection later in life.
This led him to create “Croce Plays Croce,” a show featuring songs by both him and his father, as well as artists that influenced both of them
Lindsay C. VanAsdalan, York Dispatch

A.J. Croce Celebrates Two Generations of Music – Boulton Center Bay Shore, NY

No matter how old music may be, it can connect us in the most extraordinary of ways. Timeless, it does not discriminate, instead, it bridges the gap between generations, and often can give us the missing pieces of life we are looking for. Born in the early fall of 1971, to Ingrid and famed Singer-Songwriter Jim Croce, Adrian James, A.J. for short, is one of those old souls who finds connection with music of the past…READ MORE
Cryptic Rock

Date

Venue/Lineup

Location

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