From his debut as a jazz influenced blues-based artist to his evolution into a pop music iconoclast, singer-songwriter A.J. Croce has traveled a circuitous musical road. In celebration of his career, A.J. Croce will re-release his highly successful album, That’s Me in the Bar, on the year of its 20th anniversary. With his unique jazz piano stylings and blues-tinged voice, the 12-track album established Croce as a singular artistic force in 1995. The rerelease will feature a bonus track, “If You Want Me to Stay,” recorded 20 years ago but locked in the vault until now.
The son of legendary singer-songwriter Jim Croce, A.J.’s career began with his first tour at age 18 opening up for B.B. King. In the span of a 20+-year career, A.J. has headlined festivals, concerts and major listening venues worldwide. He has been seen and heard on shows including Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Austin City Limits, Good Morning America, E!, and CNN, and he has shared the stage with an innumerable list of eclectic artists from Willie Nelson to Ray Charles, Béla Fleck to James Brown, Lyle Lovett to Morphine, and Rod Stewart to Ben Harper.
A loyal and appreciative audience and glowing press from Rolling Stone to the New York Times confirms the appeal of A.J’s genre-spanning music, with six of his albums positioned in various radio charts including Top 40, AAA, Americana, College, and Jazz. An ivory-searing New Orleans piano style established an essential juju, but his exploratory pop gems revealed a spectrum of influences from art rock to Americana and beyond. Initially signed as a jazz artist, he subsequently charted with an Americana roots release and recorded two well-regarded releases for BMG Records that expanded his audience exponentially. His subsequent albums were released on various independent labels and his own label, Seedling Records, established in 2003 to release his own records and that of other artists.
Having spent three years in Nashville where a packed weekly schedule of co-writing sharpened his writing to a keen edge, A.J. says that back home in California his song craft took an instant turn. “I began writing for myself again,” he confirms. He also began collaborating with the great Leon Russell (“A Song for You,” “This Masquerade”). “It’s a thrill and a little surreal to collaborate with Leon Russell. He’s been an influence and an inspiration as long as I can remember,” said A.J. at the time.
A dedicated family man, an adventurous artist and a confident creator; in this phase in his life and career, A.J. is focused less on expectations and more on instincts. “I generally want to do the stuff that makes me feel good,” he says. And like the blues greats who influenced him, A.J. Croce continues to create stellar music with longevity, authenticity and truth.
“…”That’s Me In The Bar” [is] a perfect foray into A.J. Croce's sultry, smooth vocals and hybrid sound, from the wailing organ and harmonies of gospel to the lilting guitar stylings of the blues."
“A.J. Croce has wisdom beyond his years. With his music, he represents his generation with a profound sense of honesty in his lyrics and quality in his delivery. The future of entertainment is safe in his hands!” - Willie Nelson
“One of the greatest young songwriters” – David Wild, Rolling Stone
Nominated for two 2017 Grammy Awards: Best Folk Album (Upland Stories) and Best American Roots Song ("Alabama at Night")
Robbie Fulks was born in York, Pennsylvania, and grew up in a half-dozen small towns in southeast Pennsylvania, the North Carolina Piedmont, and the Blue Ridge area of Virginia. He learned guitar from his dad, banjo from Earl Scruggs and John Hartford records, and fiddle (long since laid down in disgrace) on his own. He attended Columbia College in New York City in 1980 and dropped out in 1982 to focus on the Greenwich Village songwriter scene and other ill-advised pursuits.
In the mid-1980s he moved to Chicago and joined Greg Cahill’s Special Consensus Bluegrass Band, with whom he made one record (Hole in My Heart, Turquoise, 1989) and toured constantly. Since then he has gone on to create a multifarious career in music. He has released 10 solo records on the Bloodshot, Geffen, Boondoggle (self), and Yep Roc labels, including the influential alt-country records Country Love Songs (1996) and South Mouth (1997), and the widely acclaimed Georgia Hard (2005).
His 11th record, Gone Away Backward, returned him to his bluegrass days and extends the boundaries of that tradition with old-time rambles and sparely orchestrated, acoustic reflections on love, the country life, the slings of time, and the struggles of common people. In that same musical vein, his latest (and most autobiographical) album Upland Stories (2016) garnered two Grammy nominations.
New York Times: “Mr. Fulks is more than a songwriter. He's a gifted guitarist, a soulful singer with an expressive honky-tonk tenor, and he's a natural performer. But what really sets him apart is his songwriting.”
New Yorker: “An alternative-country hero, wedding pedal-steel-sweet tunes and perfect, elegant lyrics with the best of them.”
Bill Frisell: “Robbie always gets me going. Inspires me. His writing, singing, and awesome guitar playing. All the stuff is in there. Happy, sad, mad, light, dark, old, new. The whole deal. It's real.”
Michael McKean: "My favorite songwriters can break your heart and/or make me laugh: Noel Coward, Loudon Wainwright, Randy Newman, very few others. Robbie Fulks has joined that august company. He sits a mean guitar, too, and sings like he learned from the C&W greats and made it his own, which is exactly what he did."
Tina Fey: “Robbie Fulks is an alt-country genius.”