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Carolyne Mas: Music

PolyGram Records Press Release ("Modern Dreams")

(Carolyne Mas)
July 1981
"New York native Carolyne Mas' third and latest album, 'Modern Dreams,' shows her musical maturity coming to the fore, as she channels her galvanizing energy into some superb material. Now utilizing her synthesizer for a welcome experimental effect, Carolyne's music soars on tracks such as 'It's Important,' Moon Martin's 'Signal For Help,' and 'Laurielle,' with PolyGram's own A & R ace, Chip Taylor, contributing some tasty b. g. vocals. Moving, original ballads like 'Little Baby of Mine' utlilize Carolyne's double-tracked harmonies to create powerful dramatic tension, a wonderful surprise. 'Modern Dreams' turns out to be the definitive Carolyne Mas album--the one she's been promising to make from the very beginning.

Raised in Woodbury, Long Island, Carolyne was introduced to music practically at birth by her pianist father and guitarist mom. She played piano from the age of 6, guitar from the age of 11. As a child, she used to fiddle with toy flutes and maracas. 'I used to think water towers were the biggest maracas in the world,' she recalls.

By the eighth grade, Carolyne was joining rock 'n' roll bands formed by the guys from her school, the only girl around who could actually play electric guitar. 'The only other people who played were guys, so I just naturally gravitated toward them,' she explains. After earning straight F-s in high school ('I forged my parents' signature on the report card.'), Carolyne hitch-hiked all the way to Hazelton, PA., of all places, with only her very first electric guitar, a 'pea-green Gretsch Country Gentleman,' slung over her shoulder.

The time was 1974 and it still wasn't too cool for a woman to be rock 'n' rolling, especially leading a group of guys, so Carolyne contented herself with singing the odd song and playing bass, guitar and piano. A few cross-country-and-back exoduses later, our heroine settled in New York's Greenwich Village, where it all began to come together musically. 'I was always influenced by the musicians I came into contact with,' admits Carolyne. 'I met a harp player in California who turned me on to improvisational, blues-type singing.'

A stint with the aptly-titles Last Chance Blues Band led to a solo spot in a piano bar, with Carolyne earning $10 nightly, plus food and tips, working from 7 at night to 3 in the morning. 'That was the low point for me,' remember Mas, 'I did that for five months until I began using Jon Paris' band as a back-up for gigs at a place called Kenny's Castaways, which had just got their cabaret license, so we were able to bring in a drummer.'

Press interest began to grow for this diminutive rock 'n' roller, a skinny local girl with vitality and pipes to spare. A subsequent headlining show at the legendary Other End at the beginning of 1979 led to a flurry of offers from most every major record label. At that time, Carolyne's band included drummer Bobby Chouinard, guitarist David Landau, piano-player Robbie Condor, sax-player Cris Cioe and bassist John Siegler. With local radio stations airing the band's self-made demo, Carolyne Mas' career was about to be launched. She inked with Mercury/PolyGram Records, and went into the studio with producer Steve Burgh and drummer Andy Newmark to cut her debut album in May, 1979, to be released two months later. Carolyne and the group torued extensively for a year and a half, hitting the East, Midwest and South, as well as Canada and Europe, where they were greeted enthusiastically. 'Stillsane,' the first single, cracked the charts in both Canada and the United States.

In three weeks during February, 1980, Carolyne recorded her second LP, 'Hold On,' again with producer Steve Burgh, as Charlie Giordano replaced Robbie Condor on keyboards and Ivan Elias remained on bass. After the completion of 'Hold On,' guitarist Rick De Sarno replaced David Landau.

With consistent touring and acclaimed live performances, Carolyne Mas' legacy has carried overseas. This past winter, a live promotional album, culled from a performance by Carolyne and band at My Father's Place on Long Island, was released in Germany. Originally not intended for commercial use, the album took off like a skyrocket, and popular demand resulted in the record getting re-pressed four times, and now it has even begun to sneak into some of the European charts. 'Mas Hysteria,' as the album was dubbed, has now even been released in France and Scandanavia as well.

As anyone who has seen Carolyne Mas perform can tell you, she is all boundless kineticism on-stage, constantly in motion, pouring her heart and soul into each song. 'Modern Dreams' manages to capture this electricity with remarkable precision. Produced by Jon Astley and Phil Chapman, two Englishmen who have worked with some of the biggest names in rock, including the Who, Eric Clapton, and David Bowie, 'Modern Dreams' was recorded at New York's Media Sound Studios during April, 1981.

Utilizing the studio and the experimental risk-taking associated with English rock 'n' roll, Carolyne Mas has finally created the work she's capable of, from the driving intensity of 'It's Important' to the biting sarcasm of 'Dirty Lying;' from the 'songs of the humpbacked whale' echoes of 'Little Baby of Mine' to the artful 'Laurielle.'

The waiting is over. Carolyne Mas' 'Modern Dreams' has finally transformed her immense promise into present realities."