Music, Star Series
NS2 & THE CAROLINA THEATRE OF DURHAM PRESENT
A.J. Croce Presents Croce Plays Croce 50th Anniversary Tour
Multi-faceted singer/songwriter A.J. Croce is hitting the road again in celebration of two more of his father Jim Croce’s legendary albums, 1973’s “Life and Times” and his final release, “I Got A Name,” in addition to songs from “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim.”
The Croce Plays Croce 50th Anniversary show features a legendary band (including drummer Gary Mallaber, bassist David Barard, guitar/violin James Pennebaker) and a moving multi-media presentation accompanying Jim’s songs (which on the previous tour included memorable hits, “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels),” “Time in a Bottle,” and others). It was fan-demand for more, and the camaraderie that A.J. felt with the audience, the players, and the connection to his father’s timeless music that inspired A.J. to embark on the 50th Anniversary Tour for 2023. “The audience reaction has been so great,” says A.J. “The shows we did last year were not only met with a huge response, but I learned so much about what works and what resonates, we knew we had to keep going.”
The gifted multi-instrumentalist says besides the two albums “Life and Times” and “I Got A Name,” tracks from the popular “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” – which fueled last year’s run – will also be part of the new show. “We’ll be playing songs representative from all three albums, and also some songs the audience might not know from more obscure artists that I realized connected me and my father. It was those songs that eventually led me to do this show in the first place.”
BMG has 50th anniversary editions of “Life and Times” and “I Got A Name” planned for release in the summer. These will be limited color vinyl pressings of each album to celebrate this momentous anniversary and a special box set, among other promotions.
During last year’s raved-about performances, A.J. shared intimate aspects of his dad’s career. He also drew praise for his own style and musicianship (he’s known for one of the most unique keyboard styles in music) as well as his sensitive insight into Jim Croce’s enduring musical canon. While Jim Croce’s indelible music catalog still resonates on classic radio, streaming platforms, and more recently on hit films and TV shows like “Django Unchained” and “Stranger Things,” it is A.J.s unique showmanship that has helped enliven Jim’s amazing legacy. One reviewer aptly noted: “…A.J. Croce invites the sold-out crowds into his father’s worldview and work mindset, culminating in the playing of Jim Croce tunes…making for an intimate experience riddled with wryness and humor…”
A.J. says the upcoming “Life and Times” and “I Got A Name” shows will continue to be fresh and spontaneous. “People were surprised when they came that the show wasn’t just Jim Croce’s ballads,” he says. “I think one of the things the audience will appreciate if they haven’t seen us yet, is how alive these songs sound. All the musicians have a level of improvisation that makes it a lot of fun.”
The two Jim Croce albums that turned 50 in 2023 are considered among Croce’s finest, with “Life and Times,” originally released in January of 1973, delivering the game-changing hit “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” which became the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame inductee’s calling card, hitting #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and ranked as the #2 song for all of 1973. “I Got A Name” was his final studio album (and the first posthumous release by Jim), with the title song being released the day after his tragic plane crash which occurred on September 20, 1973. The album also featured the smash hit ballad “I’ll Have to Say I Love You In A Song,” and “Workin’ At The Car Wash Blues,” among others.
Fans and critics who attended last year’s 50th Anniversary Celebration shows are thrilled that A.J. is readying another affectionate interpretation of his father’s enduring legacy. The shows have renewed interest in Jim Croce and garnered praise for A.J: “I think they come as a Jim Croce fan but also leave as fans of mine. That’s something that has also made this whole experience really amazing.”