Croce Plays Croce blends Americana tunes with audience interaction
Grammy-winning musicians bringing Jim Croce hits to Sioux Falls-area casino
It’s been five decades since a plane crash killed Jim Croce. But the hits the legendary singer-songwriter left behind for his fans to enjoy remain alive.
In a concert that connects the Croce family style of music, Croce’s son AJ Croce engages his audiences with a sense of unexpected nostalgia and emotion. Playing his own music, his father’s and the tunes that influenced them both, AJ Croce will take the stage on March 25 at the Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood, Iowa.
Croce describes his show as a set of classics from his father, including “Operator,” “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” and “Time in a Bottle,” in addition to work produced during his own 30-plus year music career.
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“I’ve seen the response from so many audiences around the country and just the emotion that people feel when they see it, when they hear the music,” AJ Croce told The Dakota Scout. “But also the fact that it is very much alive. “It’s not just a tribute concert because I put a lot of myself into it.”
Beyond performing the songs, Croce also adds storytelling to his setlist — interpreting the music, connecting and sharing its impact. He says the hit songs of his father are supplemented with his own tunes and the meanings behind them.
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“My father was a storyteller. And that was his real gift — both in song and in the introductions of songs. You know where they came from and how they evolved,” AJ Croce said. “This way you kind of hear the band, you hear part of the record but also an interpretation of it.”
The younger Croce separates his performance from that of a cover band. Where some performers simply play others’ songs, he said he makes the music his own through his own interpretations.
“If you can’t make it your own, then I don’t feel like it’s worth doing,” Croce said.
The performance of Croce Plays Croce is an entirely live band, marking a difference from many other touring musical acts today. And AJ Croce noted that his supporting cast is composed of Grammy winning musicians who join him on stage each night of the tour.
“It’s all real and you get to hear this level of musicianship that’s just rare,” he said. “It’s very much a set that is alive and in the moment.”
Audience participation is a major element of the Croce Plays Croce show, an element to the performance that brings the most enjoyment to AJ Croce, he said. At points in the performance, Croce turns to the audience for requests. And it’s not just his or his father’s music that he and the band are apt to play. It could be other hits from the Americana genre that his father put his mark on, AJ Croce said.
“The audience makes a huge impact on my performance,” he said. “There is a dynamic between all of us on stage and the audience.”
Tickets to Croce Plays Croce are on sale now and start at $35 each.