Maureen Toth’s latest creation, “Chiaroscuro,” emerges as a poignant musical narrative born out of the pandemic’s tumultuous embrace. The album’s very essence, captured in its title, speaks to the stark interplay of light against darkness, mirroring the hauntingly beautiful scenes from Italy during lockdowns. Toth’s introspection translates into an evocative collection of songs that delves into the human experience during these challenging times.
Hailing from Huntington Station, New York, Toth’s journey in music took root at Boston University, where she studied voice and honed her distinctive style. Her evolution continued through theater school in Manhattan and exploration of the Bay Area’s music scene before finding her place in the bustling singer-songwriter landscape of Los Angeles. Collaborating with Bernie Larsen, renowned guitarist for luminaries like Lucinda Williams and Melissa Etheridge, Toth’s musical repertoire flourished. “Shine,” their 2010 masterpiece, showcased nuanced Americana, setting the stage for subsequent projects like the introspective “Cut Flowers” EP in 2016 and the rock-leaning “BLUR” in 2019.
However, “Chiaroscuro” stands as a unique testament to resilience and artistic exploration during adversity. Crafted during the pandemic alongside collaborators Carlos Calvo, Paul Smith, and drummer Marc Slutsky, the EP explores the contrasting themes of light and shadow. At its core is the majestic “Con Té” (“With You”), where Toth, inspired by Italy’s emotional response to the pandemic, sings in Italian, adding an extra layer of intimacy and cultural richness. Championed by Women of Substance Radio, Toth’s music draws comparisons to luminaries like Patty Griffin and Joni Mitchell. Her songwriting prowess, akin to charming coffee house concoctions, has been likened to Sara Bareilles. Yahoo! Voices applauds the “beautiful storytelling” that whisks listeners away on an instant getaway. Beyond her musical endeavors, Toth wears the hat of an entrepreneur, owning and operating Eastern Talent Agency in Los Angeles, representing accomplished department heads in the film and television industry. “Chiaroscuro” not only solidifies Maureen Toth’s standing as a musical force but also paints a vivid sonic portrait of resilience, hope, and the enduring power of artistic expression in the face of adversity.