Fulfilling your father's dreams and ambitions for you are tough enough. Now imagine your father is a folk/musical legend whose name evokes songs that have become timeless classics.

That's the battle A.J. Croce, son of the legendary Jim Croce, has had to fight for decades. While forging his own path as a multi-genre artist, he continues to honor the music of his father, particularly on his ongoing "Croce Plays Croce" Tour. A.J. performed at the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque in September, and will be back in the Hawkeye State, in Des Moines, on November 15th.

A.J. was kind enough to talk to me about a variety of topics. We discussed the ongoing tour, but also the difficultly in forging your own, unique path as an artist when your dad is so ingrained in the music sphere (just ask Shooter Jennings, Lukas Nelson, or Hank Williams III if being the spawns of a legend is always easy):

The initial challenge was turning down the offers to [play my father's music]. That was the challenge because I was offered a lot of money to do that, and I wasn't wealthy. It was integrity, or maybe it was stupidity, I don't know which one [....] I started real young as a piano player, and started recording at a young age. When I was 18, I think B.B. King heard me play, asked me out on the road, and I was out with all these legendary artists [....] I think that gave me a certain amount of credibility as a musician. I think people at least could respect, you know, respect that I was doing it on my own terms, and it was based on my own ability because none of those people needed to hire me. - A.J. Croce

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci, Getty Images
Photo Credit: Vince Bucci, Getty Images

In addition to talking about his tour, A.J. Croce also touched on some of his favorite deep-cuts of his dad's that mean a lot to him as well as some dream collaborations of his own. Personally, I highly recommend his album That's Me in the Bar. He has a Tom Waits-esque sound that stands out on the record. The piano playing is exceptional. Give it a spin.

While you're at it, also take a listen to my interview with A.J. Croce. Find out more about A.J. on his website, and see his upcoming tour dates here!

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