The son of legendary singer-songwriter Jim Croce, A.J. Croce’s 20+- year career began with his first tour at age 18 opening up for B.B. King. Now, with Twelve Tales, A.J. unveils his most ambitious recording project to date, CD out on 2/4 and LP on 5/6 via Compass Records.
The idea of sharing or receiving music from or with another generation is one of the most natural and uncomplicated of all human exchanges. In my experience there are many roads to discovering and sharing music. For me it began before I entered this world, with the music that my mother was listening to. In my case there was a good deal of music in the house, both created by my parents, their friends as well as from the records that were played in the house.
After entering this world I think we begin to associate music with the experiences that we have. A broad musical palette takes a true curiosity of the unknown. I could be wrong but it seems like there’s a window of opportunity through our twenties for us to push our musical interests in every direction. I’ve never met an adult who challenges their musical tastes if they weren’t doing so when they were young.
My first departures into the unknown came via my transistor radio and my dad’s record collection. I did something that a surprising number of my friends didn’t do; I changed the channel on my radio dial and found music beyond Top 40. I also reached for random records in our collection and eventually listened to all of them. I was so lucky to have taken that risk because it changed my life. I found Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Fats Waller, Bessie Smith, Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, Otis Redding, Sam Cook, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones… Discovering hundreds of artists in every genre. I was obsessed with tracing the history of the music I loved. As I dug deeper I found that no artist was an anomaly. At first the revelation of Little Richard or Robert Johnson is profound and it seems as if they just appeared completely formed from the ether, though I learned from a young age that everything and everyone comes from somewhere.
I’m currently 42 and the other day I was thinking that I might belong to the last generation to have a direct living connection to the icons of 20th Century music. It’s amazing that the first and most influential voices to ever be recorded are all less than a hundred years old. I’m not referring to the Rock and Roll of the 60’s or 70’s but the music that inspired my parents generation. The people who inspired the British Invasion, The Folk Revival and so much more. The truth is that when I thought a little longer on the subject, it seems I was wrong. I may have been able to meet or play with some of my musical heroes but they were given a history to contribute to and to pass on to the next generation. I’m not the first or the last generation to share what they’ve learned along the way. We’re all a cage of muses, an open time capsule and a direct living connection to our past. It’s our obligation to share it.