MUSIC NEWS: Maureen Toth "Soldier"; Homage To S. Brian Willson, Vietnam Vet and Peace Activist

Illuminating and strong is the mesmerizing new single by Los Angeles singer-songwriter Maureen Toth. Produced by guitarist Jim McGorman, (Avril Lavigne, Cassadee Pope, Michelle Branch), "Soldier" marches straight to your frontal lobe as it examines the subtleties of loyalty, determination and idealism, before breaking into a soul-soothing harmonized chorus that transports the mind's eye to a place of higher awareness.

The song is inspired by the profoundly moving life story of S. Brian Willson. Toth explains, "I read an article in The Sun called 'We Are Not Worth More, They Are Not Worth Less, The Odyssey Of S. Brian Willson' and I was moved to tears as I did. It's amazing, tragic and ultimately triumphant. The beauty of his insights and humanity as he went along and dealt with the extreme circumstances that arose were so very very powerful for me. It reinforced that we are all the same and all responsible for the love or lack of love we give to each other and the beautiful planet that sustains us. I think those that read the story or his Blood on the Tracks memoir will come away transformed."

Issuing May 20, "Soldier" marks the first release from a fruitful pairing with McGorman. Over the course of the past year, the two songwriters have dialed into something transformative, producing five richly satisfying songs on humanity and touching on tough subjects that highlight the human condition.  

Each single release will be accompanied by a companion music video. For "Soldier," the video was directed by Grammy nominated Director Nathan Hope, whose credits include CSI: NY, Cold Caseand The Tomorrow People. The video uses hauntingly expressive images of children playing with plastic toy soldiers juxtaposed with subtle performance shots. One toy soldier appears on the single's artwork representing the fight of this unique individual and humanity as a whole.

There is an inherent quality in Toth's forthright material that draws comparisons to Patty Griffin, Joni Mitchell, Shelby Lynne and Lucinda Williams, while her vocals call to mind a more delicate mood akin to that of Beth Orton, Dido, Suzanne Vega and Beth Gibbons of Portishead.

Born and raised in Huntington Station, New York, Toth attended Boston University where she studied voice and began to develop her range. After getting her degree she attended theatre school in Manhattan and then relocated to the Bay Area, where she continued to pursue her musical interests before transplanting to Los Angeles in 2000. Once in L.A., she stepped into the vibrant singer-songwriter scene and met Bernie Larsen, a renowned touring guitarist for Lucinda Williams, Melissa Etheridge, Rickie Lee Jones, Jackson Browne and a member of David Lindley's El Rayo-X. The two began collaborating and in 2004, Larsen's Spinout Records released Maureen's debut album Deven Kay, written and performed with fellow musician and close friend, Lora Altounian (the album's title is a union of their two middle names.) 

The collaboration with Larsen continued on the 2010 follow-up, Shine, a ten-song master work of nuanced Americana and lyric driven melodies. Review Fix compared Toth's songs to "charming coffee house concoctions, warm and full of spice" akin to Sara Bareilles, while Yahoo! Voices applauded the "beautiful storytelling" that "whisks you away like an instant getaway". Larsen and Toth often perform together with Maureen contributing background vocals for Larsen's solo work and his reggae band Cry On Cue.

Aside from her songwriter's endeavors, Toth owns and runs Eastern Talent, a successful talent agency in downtown L.A. that reps Editors, Cinematographers, Production Designers, and Costume Designers. Her clients' work on feature films include projects like Nebraska, Win Win, and 22 Jump Street, and narrative television such as Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Vampire Diaries
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