A.J. Croce Plays

 His Father's Music

As Well As His Own At The 

Kent Stage

June 17, 2019

A.J Croce, the son of the late Jim Croce brought his Croce Plays Croce tour to The Kent Stage on Saturday night.  


It was a very interesting evening from the start.  Croce sat down at the piano and explained in a very soft, monotone voice, what the show was going to be about.  He said that he was going to play some of his fathers music as well as some of his own. He then introduced his stellar backing band which included bassist David Barard (Dr. John), and drummer Gary Mallaber (Steve Miller, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen) and a newcomer from Nashville on guitar.  


After about five minutes of talking, Croce finally opened up the show with one of his father’s songs, “Don’t Mess Around With Jim.”  


I don’t know if A.J. was having an off night or if the sound guy didn’t have his vocals monitored correctly in the mix, but it was difficult understanding Croce when he sang.  At one point in the show, Croce asked for more guitar in his monitors and some audience members yelled “And the vocals too!” Urging the sound guy to turn up the vocals in the mix.


Croce told some stories about his father, like when he wrote the song “Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels)” there were actually phone booths back then, and today there aren’t any around.  A.J. also noted that every one of his father’s songs were written and recorded in eighteen months.


He also told some stories about writing some of his own songs with the great Leon Russell and working with famed producer Allen Toussaint to having Hall of Fame guitarist Steve Cropper lay down some licks on a few of his songs.


The man sure knows some people in high places.


However, some of the stories seemed to ramble.  Speaking in a soft, monotone voice with no inflection made it difficult for the listener to follow along.


“Rollin’ On” was an uptempo number that was co-written by Leon Russell and fit nicely in the set.  He also played a very nice cover of Hank Thompson’s “He’s Got A Way With Women.”


The set ended with two of his father’s most popular songs, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “I’ve Got A Name.”


The two hour concert came to a close when Croce and the band returned to encore with the poignant “Time In A Bottle.”

Photos and review by Greg Drugan

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