DREXEL HILL, Pa. (September 6, 2013) – 40 years ago this September, Jim Croce, one of America’s most beloved singer/songwriters – and one of Philadelphia’s most famous performers – was tragically killed in a plane crash. At just 30 years old, Croce’s career had just taken off with several chart-topping hits such as “Operator,” “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown,” “Time in a Bottle,” “Don’t Mess Around With Jim,” “I’ve Got a Name” and many more, when his life was cut short on September 20, 1973 along with lead guitarist Maury Muehleisen after a performance in Louisiana.
Croce’s family members, friends, and collaborators will gather to celebrate his life and music by performing his songs, sharing stories, and raising money for a scholarship in his name. Folk music authority Gene Shay will emcee a tribute concert entitled, “Time in a Bottle: A Tribute to Jim Croce” that will take place at 7:30 pm on September 21 at Upper Darby Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $17 – $20 and may be purchased at the box office, by calling 610.622.1189, or online at www.udpac.org. Proceeds will go to the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation for a scholarship fund in Croce’s memory.
The event is produced by Jim’s first cousin, Steve Angelucci, and by Ron Gletherow, singer and guitarist with the preeminent Croce tribute band, “Maggie’s Guitar.” The band will perform several of Croce’s songs throughout the evening and band members will perform in memory of Croce.
“What makes this event unique are the people who will take the stage in Jim’s memory. These people knew Jim and worked with him side by side,” said Steve Angelucci. “They include Jim’s co-producers Terry Cashman and Tommy West (who met and performed with Croce at Villanova University), Mike DiBenedetto who performed with Jim on his first album, myself, and Mary Muehleisen, sister of Maury Muehleisen. Maury was Jim’s lead guitarist and perished along with Jim. And of course, folk authority Gene Shay will share wonderful stories about Jim, especially when Croce headlined the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August, 1973, just one month before he died.”
The tribute concert will open with a performance by the Villanova Spires, the a cappella group with which Croce performed while a student at Villanova University. The band “Maggie’s Guitar” will take to the stage led by singer and guitarist Ron Gletherow who portrayed Croce on a British television program that had an audience of more than 11 million viewers. Joining the cast will be Ian, Duncan and Aidan Maxwell of the “Silver Hammer Band.”
Gene Shay, producer and host of WXPN’s Folk Show will host the event. According to the WXPN Web site, Shay is the founder and original emcee of the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Gene has been deemed, “The Dean of American folk DJs” by The Philadelphia Daily News and “the Grandfather of Philadelphia Folk Music” by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
One of Upper Darby High School’s most famous graduate,s Croce was born in South Philadelphia and attended Upper Darby High School and Villanova University.
The concert is also the highlight of the Gathering, a weekend reunion of Croce fans and friends. The Gathering also includes a Memories bus tour, narrated by Steve Angelucci, featuring locations throughout the Philadelphia area that were important to Jim.
Headquarters for the Gathering weekend is the Comfort Inn, 53 Industrial Highway, Essington, Pa., which is offering a discount rate. For updates on the Gathering, visit http://www.jimcrocefans.com/gathering.htm. For hotel reservations, contact the Comfort Inn at 610-521-9800, or visit http://www.comfortinn.com/hotel-essington-pennsylvania-PA094?listpos=1.