Croce plays Croce at the Gallo center


Nashville-based singer-songwriter AJ Croce is scheduled to perform in concert on Saturday, October 16 at the Mary Stuart Rogers Theater, Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto.

Son of the late Jim Croce, AJ has always traveled his own musical route. For more than 20 years, the creative pop iconoclast has harnessed a variety of American sounds to create his music. Many of Croce’s albums have appeared in the Top 40, AAA, Americana, College, and Blues charts and when his second album, That’s Me in the Bar, was re-released it ended up ranking in two separate decades.

The October 16 show starts at 8 p.m. Gallo Center is at 1000 I St., Modesto.

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Always interested in exploring new creative territories, AJ has created a unique concert experience celebrating both his own music and that of his father, the late troubadour Jim Croce. Entitled “Croce Plays Croce”, the evening sees AJ Croce performing his songs, his father’s tunes and the music that influenced them both.

AJ was only two years old when Jim Croce died in a tragic plane crash in 1973, so he didn’t know his father’s music. Instead, “I came to love it the same way everyone else did,” he explained, “from listening to the albums.” While he describes his father’s music as “a part of me, a part of my life,” AJ never really performed these songs live. As a pianist, his interests tended to favor the blues and jazz music of musicians such as Ray Charles and Allen Toussaint.

A few years ago, however, AJ was digitizing some of his father’s old tapes and came across a tape filled with covers of old blues and folk tunes from Fats Waller, Bessie Smith and Pink Anderson. It was a revelation for him. “He played stuff that I played myself,” AJ revealed, adding that “the stuff made sense” when he found out that he and his dad had “all the music in common.”

As he began to learn his father’s tunes, AJ had to do it “the old fashioned way, listening to the recordings” because there were no Jim Croce chord books. AJ, who was developing his own guitar playing prowess, was particularly impressed with the complexity of his father’s compositions, especially in the interaction between Croce and his longtime collaborator, guitarist Maury Muehleisen, who died with Croce in this fatal plane crash.

Jim Croce achieved long-awaited success in 1972 after years of struggling to make a name for himself in the music world. That year he released two albums, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim and Life and Times, which spawned the hit singles “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim”, “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels) “,” Time in a Bottle “and” Bad, Bad Leroy Brown “(these last two tracks both reached number 1). His last studio effort, I’ve Got a Name, was released in December 1973, less than three months after his death. Three other hits (“Workin ‘at the Car Wash Blues”, “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” and the title track) come from this album, which reached number two on the charts. AJ pointed out that these three classic albums were recorded in just a year and a half. Jim Croce, who was only 30 when he died, has seen his folk-rock music remain popular over the years. His record sales have surpassed the 45 million mark and his songs have appeared on more than 375 compilations.

AJ’s most recent release is an eclectic new cover album called On demand via Compass Records. Powered by his spirited and easy piano mastery and emotional voice, Croce revisits those musical memories by covering songs from artists such as Allen Toussaint, Billy Preston, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Faces, Randy Newman and Sonny Terry and Brownie. McGhee.


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