• Jonathan Widran

MAUREEN TOTH, Blur

When singer/songwriter Maureen Toth isn’t lighting up hot spots in and around the L.A. area with her warm, soulful voice, witty and biting social consciousness and commentary and unabashed optimism and an ultimate romantic view of life despite it all, she’s got a pretty cool day gig: running a “below the line” talent agency. In a 2017 interview by MPAA, she said, “I like representing artists who are interested in doing what they do and working on good projects. . .(where) most people are super awesome, talented folks who just want to work at good jobs that are creative.”

With a series of acclaimed releases throughout the current decade, the multi-talented artist and performer could just as easy be talking about her own brilliance and dedication to intricate song craft. She often laments and meditates harshly on the world around her, but always and cheerfully chooses hope and action over despair – and, as on “Island,” the buoyant and jangling pop/rocker and six minute jam (written for her husband) that closes her hard-hitting new EP Blur, allows herself the occasional loving escape and refuge from the encroaching madness.

The five- track collection’s opening number, the crisp, hypnotic, soaring vocal harmony filled pop/rocker “Blur,” offers a different kind of “out” – an introspective route towards finding ways to carry on a meaningful connection with a loved one (or lover) who has transitioned into the next realm.

Toth then takes on the world at large on the two tracks that form the throbbing emotional core of Blur. She’s all about somber reflection on the dark-tinged, introspective “Fundamental,” which seeks to find a common humanity in our emotional survival after a public, fundamentalism driven tragedy (in this case, the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks at The Bataclan). True to its title, “Deep Dark” is a stark, emotionally cathartic rumination – punctuated with a blistering guitar solo by album producer Carlos Calvo – about the despairing elements of our planet, from mass shootings to the cavalier attitude of some folks towards global warming. Toth doesn’t leave us in the gloom and shadows long, though. The crux of the song is a long-sighted plea to “Raise your voice/Stand and fight/Find your strength, to shed some light.”

Sandwiched between that heavy track and the lighthearted “Island” is “Siren,” the singer’s personal manifesto about taking chances, walking the plank, taking the plunge and letting “the tempest” take her where it will. She knows it’s an uphill battle, but she’s willing to fight and be okay with wherever her resolve may take her.

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