"If Janis Ian had been kidnapped and locked in a basement for three months, she'd emerge looking like Carolyne Mas. The wild-eyed, mighty-voiced Ms. Mas is part of the current music revitalization taking place on Bleecker St. and centered in Kenny's Castaways. Not since the pre-headshop, pre-pinball days of the Night Owl Cafe--when it featured performers like James Taylor, then with the Flying Machine, John (Where is he now?) Sebastian and his Lovin' Spoonful, Tim Hardin and Richie Havens with Cass Elliot as MC--has there been this much creative musical energy bubbling up in one West Village site. Kenny's is now the scene. When today's hotshot singer/songwriters on the circuit aren't performing there, they're probably at the bar checking out the action with a few kindred spirits, or behind the bar dispensing liquid spirits for a few extra bucks.
Last Thursday, it was a full house for Michael Federal, a composer/performer so well respected it is a mystery why he goes unrecorded, and those who came to catch Federal were also taken by Ms. Mas. Backed by the Jon Paris Band, Mas's vocals are sometimes pure raw power and forceful phrasing not unlike Patti Smith's, and at times as sweetly melodic and finely cultivated as Joni Mitchell.
Her original uptempo tune, 'Everybody Knows,' is a sure score for the top 10, and her cover for the Steve Forbert song, "You Cannot Win If You Do Not Play'--to which Forbert contributed harmonica accompaniment--retained the integrity of the material while infusing it with her own electrifying style. Mas is 22 years old; her training is operatic, but rock has always been her soul. Watch that soul take flight."
Pat Wadsley - WEEKLY SOHO NEWS (10-5-78)