CD Review: A.J. Croce “Just Like Medicine”

Posted: October 20, 2018 in Music
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Just Like MedicineA.J. Croce is a singer-songwriter that was born to another singer-songwriter that had his time on Earth cut short due to a plane crash. That singer-songwriter was, of course, Jim Croce. Jim Croce was known for such songs as “Time in a Bottle,” “Roller Derby Queen,” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” and others. And although Jim Croce died in a plane crash when A.J. Croce was only two, A.J. was largely influenced by his father. In fact, A.J. was so influenced by his father that he started writing his own music. To date, Adrian James “A.J.” Croce has a musical discography that includes ten albums of music. The latest album from the younger Croce is 2017’s Just Like Medicine.

The Just Like Medicine album finds A.J. Croce creating an album that seems to have been influenced by many of the same people that would have been contemporaries to his father, Jim Croce. And while some of his father’s influence does come through, the other influences help to create an album that feels like it would be welcomed by them, the older crowd and the current market of music buyers all at the same time.

While the new album from A.J. Croce features A.J’s songs, it also comes complete with a few songs that had been written by other musicians. The combination of original compositions from Croce and the few cover tunes he chose to include create an album with a straight-out Rock and Roll soul to it; especially given the fact that the tracks borrow from several different musical directions at once. Here are just a few of the highlights to the Just Like Medicine album:

Just Like Medicine begins with one of A.J’s original songs called “Gotta Get Outta My Head”. While Croce has followed in his father’s musical footsteps, he also has gone in his own direction as far as his writing style is concerned. Nowhere is that more apparent than on this first track of the album. The track feels more like a song that Dr. John would have composed. The track’s musical approach combines elements of Rock and Roll with some Funk to create a track with a rather strong groove to it.

A.J. Croce’s latest release continues with a track that was written by Steve Cropper of Booker T & the MG’s fame. Because of Cropper’s musical background and with the various people he played with, the track “The Heart That Makes Me Whole” contains a strong musical feel that would have felt right at home with the tracks that appeared on the albums produced by The Blues Brothers.  A.J’s version of the track brings that Blues Brothers influence to life.

The other track on A.J. Croce’s latest release of Just Like Medicine that isn’t his is the track “Name of the Game”. This song was written by Jim Croce but was never released because Jim passed away before the release it was to be included on went unfinished. Right from the beginning few notes of the track, it is absolutely clear that “Name of the Game” is Jim Croce’s song. The guitar-driven track would have been right at home next to a song such as “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”. In fact, the two tracks feel as if they could have been together on the same album.

For the title track of the release, A.J. Croce creates a track in “Cures Just Like Medicine” that brings to mind a style that seems to have been largely influenced by the like of Harry Connick Jr. “Cures Just Like Medicine” features a Jazzy, Connick-like musical approach. The somewhat raspy voice of A.J. Croce and the musical approach once again brings to mind the sound and feel of Dr. John but with more of a jazzy feel.

Staying in a jazzy state of mind, the next track entitled “Move On” features A.J. Croce continues with the Connick influence but with a stronger stressing of jazz to the music. On this track, what ends up coming across is an “American Songbook” era track that would have come from Rod Stewart. The easy feel to the music and the lyrical delivery that is unmistakably Stewart creates a track that transcends age as the track feels both timeless and retro at the same time.

With the song “The Other Side of Love,” A.J. Croce creates a track with a rather soulful feel to the music. That soulful approach comes from the laidback feel to the pace of the music as well as the quiet feel of the vocal delivery from Croce and the piano that is featured on the track. Together, the various elements in the music create a track that feels as if it belongs on the radio back a few decades. But as there are just as many people who are creating music with a retro feel to it, “The Other Side of Love” fits in with other artists today that also bring the older styles of music alive in their current music.

As the album of Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce continues, the track “Full Up” finds Croce creating a track that features a piano part and vocal delivery that brings to mind the style of Randy Newman. But there’s more to the track than just that Randy Newman influence which proves that A.J. was influenced by the same people who created music at the same time that his father had been creating music. While the delivery and musical approach bring Newman to mind, the music also contains a little influence by a more contemporary artist- Jack Johnson. Together, the two influences blend to create a track with inter-generational appeal.

On the track “Hold You,” A.J. Croce seems to be channeling the musical approach of Van Morrison. Both the music of the track and Croce’s vocal approach to the track bring to mind the sound and style of Morrison. In fact, “Hold You” has such a strong Morrison feel to the music that it would fit right in with the likes of “The Mystic” or “Crazy Love”. “Hold You” is just another track on the album of Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce that shows off the various influences that give A.J. Croce’s music its appeal.

As you make your way through the ten tracks that make up the Just Like Medicine album from A.J. Croce, it’s hard to ignore the various influences that wind their way through Croce’s music. But those influences aren’t a bad thing. The various influences that Croce draws upon help give his music depth. As a result, his 2017 album is an album that will satisfy any Rock and Roll lover’s desire for something new.

To hear the music from Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce, check out the Spotify account for the album. 

Also check out the “title track” to the release, “Cures Just like Medicine“. 

To purchase a copy of Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce, click HERE

Click HERE for A.J. Croce’s version of “Operator” from Jim Croce. 

 

 

 

 

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