12 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Eight albums into his recording career, singer/songwriter A.J. Croce stands poised to break out of cult status with Twelve Tales. As the son of hitmaker Jim Croce, this San Diego–based artist has dealt with heavy expectations over the years. As his latest release shows, he’s moved away from his father’s acoustic pop legacy toward a zesty blend of jazz, R&B, and country. Twelve Tales benefits from a stellar list of collaborators, who helped Croce keep his rootsy edge without neglecting the appeal of his well-crafted melodies. Legendary New Orleans producer Allen Toussaint lent his expertise to “Rollin’ On” (a rollicking tune cowritten with Leon Russell). The late “Cowboy” Jack Clement—known for his work with everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis to U2—handled production duties on the funkified “Easy Money” and the twang-filled “Momentary Lapse of Judgment.” Croce’s vocals combine coffeehouse earnestness with supper-club elegance, whether he’s bopping to a Latin groove on “The Call of Love,” testifying with gospel fervor on “Tarnished and Shining,” or ruminating in a folk mode on “Venus and Adonis.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Eight albums into his recording career, singer/songwriter A.J. Croce stands poised to break out of cult status with Twelve Tales. As the son of hitmaker Jim Croce, this San Diego–based artist has dealt with heavy expectations over the years. As his latest release shows, he’s moved away from his father’s acoustic pop legacy toward a zesty blend of jazz, R&B, and country. Twelve Tales benefits from a stellar list of collaborators, who helped Croce keep his rootsy edge without neglecting the appeal of his well-crafted melodies. Legendary New Orleans producer Allen Toussaint lent his expertise to “Rollin’ On” (a rollicking tune cowritten with Leon Russell). The late “Cowboy” Jack Clement—known for his work with everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis to U2—handled production duties on the funkified “Easy Money” and the twang-filled “Momentary Lapse of Judgment.” Croce’s vocals combine coffeehouse earnestness with supper-club elegance, whether he’s bopping to a Latin groove on “The Call of Love,” testifying with gospel fervor on “Tarnished and Shining,” or ruminating in a folk mode on “Venus and Adonis.”

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About A.J. Croce

The son of Jim Croce, Adrian James Croce made his own musical mark with a combination of contemporary blues and soulful roots rock. He honed his piano skills as a boy, while recovering from a brain tumor that left him partially blind. Taking influence from the likes of Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, as well as several early blues artists, he began gigging on the San Diego circuit and signed a record contract with Private Music at the age of 19. Two years later, Croce released his self-titled debut, which featured production from John Simon and T-Bone Burnett. That's Me in the Bar appeared in 1995, and Croce soon left the label to sign with Ruf Records, for whom he issued Fit to Serve in the spring of 1998. Although best known for his piano-based interpretation of American roots music, Croce switched gears in 2000 by hiring alternative rock producer Michael James (whose credits included albums by New Radicals, Hole, and Jane's Addiction) to helm his next record, Transit.

Four years later, the singer's fifth album, the self-titled Adrian James Croce, explored an eclectic range of pop music influences, while 2006's Cantos featured a decidedly stripped-down feel. Croce then returned to a rootsy sound with Cage of Muses. Croce signed with Compass Records for the release of 2014's Twelve Tales, an ambitious project that featured a dozen original songs recorded in six cities with six different producers, including Allen Toussaint, Jack Clement, and Mitchell Froom. Arriving in 2017, Just Like Medicine was a set influenced by vintage soul artists; legendary producer Dan Penn was behind the controls for the sessions, which included accompaniment from Vince Gill, Steve Cropper, and David Hood. ~ John Bush

HOMETOWN
Bryn Mawr, PA
GENRE
Rock
BORN
September 28, 1971

Songs

Albums