-by James W.A.
-courtesy of SacredGroundsTampa.com (original post here)
-April 4th, 2016
Have you ever been out somewhere at a bar, festival, or really awesome and comfy coffee shop and heard that one name spoken about? You know what I’m talking about: that person everyone seems to know or at the very least knows a lot about, like the whispered legend of a superstar you can imagine in theory but cannot picture or say you’ve met him or her. That was me when I first arrived on the scene at Sacred Grounds and heard the mythological rumors of one Jeremy Gloff.
The townsfolk raved about his dashing musical style, a riveting pop, rock, and electronic mix that would, and most probably does, make indie musicians around the globe swoon. They praised his mighty slaying of boredom and monotony when he founded the Open Mic at Sacred Grounds many years ago. They laughed, reminiscing, and proclaimed what a kind, brilliant, outgoing, and fun-loving soul he is and the difference he’s made in so many lives in the Tampa Bay Area. His reputation for bringing joy and sowing dazzling music wherever he went certainly preceded him, but it wasn’t until I finally met the man, this legend Jeremy Gloff, that I realized one thing about all of these dramatically-presented rumors: they were absolutely true.
But I’m not here right now to talk about the past endeavours that have turned this 41 year old from New York who, over the past 18 years here, has become nothing short of a local legend here in Tampa. Mentioning his total collection of nineteen albums, including a greatest hits assortment that came out last year, would be a worthy feat indeed, but it all seems to be not even in the same league in comparison to the new album number twenty.
“Those Who Survived” could only be called a complete masterpiece. This collection of seventeen songs is truly what I could call the crowning achievement of Jeremy Gloff’s artistic career. His “Black Album,” his “Thriller,” his “Dark Side of the Moon,” his… well you get the idea; it’s a big deal! Having the privilege of listening to it shortly before its official release this Saturday (which you can too through a preorder), I can honestly say that there’s not a single track on “Those Who Survived” that I would consider subpar. Sure they can’t all be “When I Was 19,” one of the singles from the album, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of them.
How might I describe “Those Who Survived” in a few words? Epic would of course be the first word to come to mind, but it is far from the only. Thematically, I would say that hope is a major one for the album. Heck, the whole concept behind the title track is to honor those who have never stopped fighting through life’s struggles and tumults. I find this beautiful and meaningful and this is evidenced in a number of songs. “Exit the Circle,” one of my personal favorites, is all about breaking the cycle of poor and harmful relationships and building something new. “Compulsions,” which features the vocals of rapper Entropy, is centered around kicking an addiction or destructive habit. To me, these tracks are an encouragement to strive, despite all else, to be the best person you can and I think the world needs that kind of encouragement en masse. I know I sure do.
That’s not to say that this is all just a proverbial happy-feel-good collection. No, there is real depth to many of these songs and even a touch of sadness in the form of the haunting tribute “For Will” and less haunting, beautiful “Never Too Much Love.” The style of the album provides a unique blend of styles that really cater to the intended message. At times you’ll want to dance and jump freely, as my girlfriend did while we jammed out to “When I Was 19” in the car, while other times you may find yourself lost in reflection, as I did while listening to “Still Golden.” I believe that every song on “Those Who Survived” has been masterfully crafted to blend the dazzle of pop, with the depth of rock, and the energy of electronic dance to create something that is the unparalleled fusion of the three.
And that’s not even including the astonishing composition contained in the title track. 131 different voices have been blended together in an audio collage that pays homage to, as Jeremy himself put it, his “friends who are currently surviving.” It’s rather fitting that an album encouraging you to live life to the fullest is tempered with the voices of those who have and are going that distance. Sitting at the final slot on the track list, “For Those Who Survived” drives the message home and rounds off a collection of encouraging words, stellar music, and an overall magnificent experience.
After 19 albums of slowing building potential, local legend Jeremy Gloff has finally exploded with a masterpiece so riveting, I have little doubt it will go down in personal history as one of his greatest artistic achievements. “Those Who Survived” is a fusion of musical styles that works very well together to create a proverbial letter of encouragement to be not only a survivor, but a thriver.
Still not convinced? Well then don’t just take my word for it, check out the vintage-styled music video for hit single from the album, “When I Was 19!” I promise you won’t be disappointed in the quality of Jeremy’s work, even if you’re not the biggest fan of the style. And, if you like beer too as I do, feel free to come on out to Jeremy Gloff’s release party for “Those Who Survived” at New World Brewery in Tampa on April 9th at 8PM ($7 at the door). Trust me, you won’t soon forget meeting the exuberant and fun-loving Jeremy Gloff himself, as well as hearing performances from other local artists, Purr Purr Purr and Funny Bunny.
Don’t forget to follow Jeremy on his social media outlets. Keep an eye out for “Those Who Survived” (preorders are available as well) and keep an eye out for me blasting from my car as I drive around Tampa Bay. And, as Jeremy himself might want you to remember, keep on keeping on and being the survivor that would make him and this album proud!