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Time Out of a Bottle: Croce Plays Croce in New Orleans

Time Out of a Bottle: Croce Plays Croce in New Orleans

This article sure brought back some vivid memories. We can clearly “see” ourselves and our pals bopping down our grade school hallways, singing along to Jim Croce’s catchy hits. The songs were so ingrained in our formative era, their influence contributed to our own musical learning and loving the guitar. Later in adulthood, we had the pleasure of seeing A.J. in concert at SXSW. The man is a master. For fans of father Jim, this son’s tribute tour will not only strum the heartstrings, it will – if you’ll forgive the 70s parlance – blow your mind.  – Editor

Is your road trip soundtrack full of your favorite Adult Contemporary hits from the early 70s? Is Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” near the top of your playlist? Then mark your calendar for March 24 and start planning your next Gulf Coast road trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s there at the Joy Theater that A.J. Croce takes the stage for Croce Plays Croce. The tour is a 50th-anniversary celebration of the music and legacy of Jim Croce, A.J.’s father.

I Got a Name

After years of being a jack-of-all-trades, Jim Croce dreamed of finally becoming a full-time singer-songwriter. The dream started coming true in 1972. That was the year things turned around for the struggling musician who had worked several jobs to pay the bills. Now, however, all of that was changing.

In 1972, Croce released his third album, You Don’t Mess Around with Jim. Two tracks received significant airplay – the title track and the hit, “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels).” He quickly followed up with another album, Life and Times, in January 1973 featuring the #1 hit “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”

To support Life and Times, Jim went on a 45-date U.S. tour, chartering a Beechcraft E18S to fly him from venue to venue. On the night of Thursday, September 20, 1973, Croce performed a concert at Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Once he finished, he hopped on the plane headed for Sherman, Texas, and a concert at Austin College. Sadly, the plane crashed into a tree on takeoff from Natchitoches killing everyone on board. Croce was just 30 years old. Along with a string of hits, he also left behind his wife, Ingrid, and son Adrian James.

Photographs and Memories

Adrian James “A.J.” Croce was just eight days shy of his second birthday the day his father died. As one can imagine, except for a few photographs and his mother’s memories he doesn’t remember much about his dad. What he does remember, however, there always being music around. And its music that helped him not only cope with his father’s death but also with other tragedies in his life. Physical abuse by his mother’s boyfriend caused him to go blind at four years old. (At the age of 10, he did regain his eyesight in one eye.) However, he turned to music to get him through, becoming a piano prodigy and a songwriter, like his father.

Still, for most of his life, he was hesitant to play his father’s songs. Besides not wanting to hear the same old “like father, like son” clichés, A.J. wanted to carve his own path. As a result, barely in his 20s, he began his music career. Eventually, A.J. would find himself touring with the likes of B.B. King, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and New Orleans’ own Allen Toussaint.

Ooh Child

The young Croce began to make a name for himself, touring across the country and gathering his own fan base. A mix of his father’s admirers and new and curious fans began to fall in love with his charm, piano virtuosity, and special treatment of classic cover tunes, like Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” and the Five Stairsteps’ “Ooh Child.”

So what made A.J. finally want to cover some of his father’s songs? Well, a few years ago, he found an old tape his father had made. On it were old blues, country, and folk songs Jim had recorded. They were songs by Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, and Pink Anderson. Though A.J. had been playing the same songs since he was a child, he never before heard his father play them. As a result of discovering this tape, he felt a deeper spiritual connection and realized that there was more than just DNA he and his dad shared.

On the Croce Plays Croce tour, you’ll hear A.J. sing some of these songs as part of his setlist. And of course, he’ll be singing some of his dad’s songs too. However, don’t think it’s a night celebrating only the legacy of the elder Croce. The concert is actually a celebration of two generations of musicians, and A.J. will be playing his own songs, too.

Indeed, Croce plays Croce is than a catalog of songs of father and son. Audiences will be treated to little vignettes of the two musicians’ lives that share more than just the kindred of blood but also their love of music.

Croce Plays Croce makes one last Gulf Coast appearance at New Orleans’s Joy Theater. Tickets are available online or at the Joy Theater.                                                                                                                   🌊

Read More at Croce on Croce Event Listing

Wherever you’re traveling along the Gulf Coast, be sure to bring plenty of Stuckey’s along with you.

After all, is it really a road trip without a Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll? Order yours and all of your favorite Stuckey’s souvenirs, snacks, and treats from Stuckey’s online today.

About The Source

Stephanie Stuckey

The Stuckey’s team is creating original Gulf Coast content exclusively for Go! Gulf States. Avid roadtripper and Chair of the Stuckey’s board, Stephanie Stuckey aims to continue the legacy started by her grandparents by providing a fun and quality experience for the roadside traveler and offering Stuckey’s pecan products via storefront, e-commerce, and other retail outlets.

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