(SPEARFISH, SD – 08/26/16) The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center hosts musician, A.J. Croce, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23. This is the kick-off event of the 2016-17 Subscription Series season at the opera house. Patrons may buy individual tickets starting on Sept. 1. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. Tickets will be available at The Matthews’ art gallery during business hours, Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online any time at www.matthewsopera.com.
A.J. Croce is a multi-instrumentalist roots-rock artist known for his boogie-woogie piano playing. His career began with his first tour at age 18 opening up for B.B. King. Since then, his career has taken off. 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. Croce 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.
“The eclectic mix of A.J. Croce’s music represents the best of American music – jazz, blues, country, pop. His mastery of his craft is evident in his eight albums, each with a different musical influence,” says Sian Young, executive director of The Matthews. “We selected Mr. Croce to kick-off our 2016-17 series because of his appeal across generations and genres. Audience members can expect both a soulful and energetic musical evening featuring piano and guitar with the intimacy that only The Matthews Opera House can deliver.”
A.J. initially started out as a Jazz artist, having a searing New Orleans piano style that established an essential juju. After this, he charted with an Americana roots release, as well as releasing exploratory pop “gems” that expanded his audience exponentially. Since then, he has released his subsequent albums on independent labels, including his own label, Seedling Records, established in 2003.
After spending three years in Nashville with a songwriting-packed schedule, his writing took a turn when he moved back to California. “I began writing for myself again,” A.J. confirms. About his musical style, he explains, “I generally want to do the stuff that makes me feel good.” Glowing press from Rolling Stone and the New York Times confirms this is a good thing. Like the blues greats who influenced him, A.J. Croce continues to create stellar music with longevity, authenticity, and truth.