A.J. CroceView in iTunes
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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 more elements of pop music, while 2006's Cantos featured a decidedly stripped-down feel. Croce then returned to a wider sound with Cage of Muses. ~ John Bush