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article imageFormer 'female Bruce Springsteen' trying to save Arizona home Special

By Mark J. Allan     Aug 10, 2015 in Music
A woman once described as a female Bruce Springsteen needs help to save an Arizona home she wants to use to help others.
Carolyne Mas garnered rave reviews when she burst onto the music scene in the late 1970s. Galvanizing live performances showcased her powerful voice, skilled electric guitar playing and commanding stage presence.
It was, however, too much for some conservative record label executives, at least one of whom insisted that a woman playing rock would never sell.
Unworthy management and mishandling by Mercury Records, a company so dysfunctional that English labelmate Graham Parker wrote a song called Mercury Poisoning, prevented Mas from becoming the success many critics predicted she would.
After decades of non-musical jobs, including caregiving for family members and suffering from health issues of her own, Mas is trying to hang onto a solar-powered home in Arizona.
The three-bedroom ranchette in the unincorporated community of Pearce is on a 38-acre parcel with farm fencing, a chicken coop and an irrigated garden. The property also includes a generator, well and 1,000-gallon water storage tank. Bequeathed by her mother to Mas and her son Gabriel, the property is completely paid off. Yet Mas might lose it due to unpaid property taxes.
“It’s really directly tied into the time when I was a caregiver and I stopped working regular jobs to take care of my aunt and then to take care of my mother,” Mas said in a phone interview from New York City.
After her father died suddenly in 2002, Mas moved to Florida to care for his sister. Mas became a full-time caregiver for her aunt, who was in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease and was bedridden after breaking a hip.
After Mas’ mother, a one-time Miss Puerto Rico, began to display Alzheimer symptoms in 2006, Mas cared for her while raising her son Gabriel. By the time her mother and aunt died by the end of 2010, Mas was virtually unemployable and unable to keep up with property taxes.
“I didn’t have a job; (it was) impossible because of my hands.”
While caring for her aunt and mother, Mas had developed arthritis, especially in her fingers. That and carpal tunnel syndrome meant that earning a living was virtually impossible.
A musical comeback touring Italy and Germany in 2013 and 2014 helped a bit, but she returned both times without a job to go to, facing taxes that are owed back to 2013.
Her situation is complicated by legislation that allows third parties to purchase liens on properties.
“It was purchased by a private person who’s probably done this to make money. It’s an easy way to make money; you can charge whatever interest you want.”
Mas said she has paid half of the 2014 taxes already, adding that lien-holders can foreclose on properties within three years. That means legal proceedings could begin in March 2016.
So far, $2,105 has been raised in a Go Fund Me campaign toward the $11,300 Mas needs to pay her property taxes and keep what she describes as an “unfinished but very livable” home.
Receiving disability benefits since late last year, Mas is enrolled for online courses offered by Cochise College in Arizona, planning to later transfer to Arizona State University to complete her degree in integrative health.
True to the spirit of an experienced caregiver who sang in her teens for infirm people in hospitals, Mas would like to use the property to help people.
One concept, through HomeFront Rising, would host military veterans who need to de-stress and rejuvenate in a healthy environment. HomeFront Rising facilitates social, business and employment relationships between veterans and non-veterans.
It’s hard to believe now, but at one time Mas seemingly had a bright future in the music business.
Born to musical parents, classically trained, and singing Gilbert and Sullivan by age 17 with the prestigious Light Opera of Manhattan as its youngest member, the New York native followed her muse, playing loud, passionate rock music.
Touring all the U.S., Europe and Canada, Mas opened shows in 1979 and 1980 for Cheap Trick, Rick Derringer, Robert Palmer, the Boomtown Rats, Sammy Hagar and others. Bon Jovi and comedian Jerry Seinfeld were among those who opened for her.
Her first single, from a self-titled debut album in 1979, cracked the Billboard top 100. Follow-up album Hold On the next year again featured many of her songs.
Two Mas albums emerged in 1981, but that was the end of her releases for many years and soon after her music career.
Heavily in debt and playing low-profile gigs, Mas and her band were deported from Canada after her booking agent messed up some paperwork, marking a low point in her music career.
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