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. On Saturday, June 1, it will be coming to the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, where it will be recorded and filmed.

No-win situation: "I spent my whole career avoiding my father's music," Croce said.

Jim Croce died when A.J. was just 2, and as the son started his own career, he said, he felt taking opportunities based on his connection with his father was a no-win situation. 


"When you’re the son of a musician, people somehow want you to be their carbon copy and somehow don’t want you to be that," he said.

But about six years ago, when A.J. learned his father's songs on guitar to pay tribute to him on what would have been his 70th birthday, he "felt so much love from the audience."

While transferring home practice demos his father recorded before his career as a musician, the younger Croce discovered his father had chosen many of the same songs that had influenced him.

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