Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Carolyne Mas: Music

Mercury Records Press Release ("Hold On")

(Carolyne Mas)
June 9, 1980
"On stage, Carolyne Mas pushes herself and her band to the limit. The feverish energy level and raw excitement of her music has left audiences in the U.S., Canada, and Europe standing on their feet asking for more.

With 'Hold On,' her second album, produced by Steve Burgh, Carolyne has captured the dynamics of her power live performance on vinyl. Her debut last year promised what this record delivers: the intensity and honesty of a talented young artist whose self-confidence has not diminished her ability to project a very real sense of vulnerability.

All the songs on 'Hold On' were written by Carolyne with the exception of 'You Cannot Win If You Do Not Play,' the first recorded interpretation to date of a Steve Forbert song.

Much of Carolyne's new material was written at a time when she was touring extensively. As a result, many of the songs are personal expressions of a young artist facing the often-strange circumstances of her chosen lifestyle for the first time.

'A song like the album's title track was written with no instrument on a train.' Carolyne points out. 'But it wasn't until a couple days later that I was able to work out the parts. It's almost like I have a radio in my head, because I can hear the completed song while I'm working on it.'

Carolyne was born in Bronxville, N.Y., and first came to the attention of the music industry in early 1979. However, prior to then, she had been active in a wide range of musical activities which included taking voice lessons at age 11, playing with numerous bands in high school, enrollment in the American Music and Dramatic Academy in Greenwich Village, and membership in the Light Opera of Manhattan where she starred in several Gilbert and Sullivan productions.

In 1974, Carolyne was accepted at the Julliard School of Music, but opted to perform at a musical festival in Pennsylvania just when classes were to begin. What followed was a period of development as she traveled around the country working on her music. She resurfaced in New York City during the summer of 1976 and began playing small clubs, piano bars, and coffeehouses. It was during this time that Carolyne organized the Songwriters Workshop, an ongoing, weekly dialogue that included some of the most talented, young songwriters in the city.

The story picks up in the fall of 1978, when Carolyne meets her manager-to-be, Faris Bouhafa, and her eventual producer, Steve Burgh. The next few months are spent getting a band together, rehearsing, and playing some low visibility dates around New York City. By mid-January of 1979, Carolyne and her band were ready for the first showcase.

The 'official' debut for Carolyne was January 17, 1979, at the Other End, opening for Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. From that point on, things started happening very quickly for Ms. Mas. Rave reviews started appearing in the New York press and a return engagement one month later drew reps from every record label in the city.

All four shows sold out after WNEW-FM broke format and aired her demo tape, followed by a number of local college stations doing likewise. Shortly thereafter, Carolyne signed with Mercury Records.

The positive reception to her first LP, 'Carolyne Mas,' resulted in extensive touring which included the United States, Canada, and Europe. Her live performances consistently gained her new fans. And the second LP, 'Hold On,' should give her the wider recognition she deserves.

It was all the touring that allowed Carolyne and her band to enter the studio still brimming with energy. All the tracks were recorded live in the studio with Carolyne on lead vocals, electric 6 and 12-string guitars, piano; Bobby Chouinard on drums; Ivan Elias on bass guitar; Charlie Giordono on piano and organ; David Landau on electric quitar; and Cris Cioe on alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones. Cioe was also heavily involved in the mixing of the album.

'A live performance almost makes having a record secondary,' Carolyne says. 'When the audience is really responsive, then you can get into little experiments where the music goes somewhere it's never been. You push yourself and feel confident in taking chances.'

On this impressive record, Carolyne Mas has taken the chances -- and won."