In the intimacy of a room that seats no more than thirty people, A.J. Croce–the uncommonly talented son of the late folk singer Jim Croce–stunned the modest audience at the Rockwood Music Hall. Serving up mostly new work from his recently released Twelve Tales, Croce belted out one gem after another, accompanying himself on piano with thick Dr. John-like chops and the guitar picking of a true Nashville cat.
Croce’s latest record is a testament to the deep respect the 42-year-old has garnered within the music community even as he remains under the radar to popular audiences. On Twelve Tales, Croce pairs himself with six of the most sought-after producers in the business, from “Cowboy” Jack Clement to Allen Toussaint. A seemingly endless font of songwriting, Croce offered up dozens of songs to each producer, letting them choose two songs to work on. The result is a window into the breadth of talent at Croce’s fingertips.
It is easy to imagine that after years of consistent writing and recording, Croce is on the brink of tipping the scales of critical and popular appreciation. In his live show and in his recordings Croce’s formidable talents as a writer and player are undeniable.
– Eric Russ