“The second one? Well, it was amazing!” These are the words of Zou Zou Mansour, front person for the band Soraia. Zou Zou, bassist Travis Smith, drummer Jeff Leonard, guitarist John Glaubitz and keyboardist Jack Faracchio comprise this Philadelphia area group who will be performing at the third annual “Hollystock” in Mount Holly, NJ on Saturday August 9.
Mansour was blown away by ”Hollystock 2013″ and fully expects the 2014 version to be just as incredible. “Last year was very professional, well run and what a great stage. great town and great people,” she gushed as she and the rest of the band excitedly prepare for this year’s performance. “Much of the event’s success is due to Gary and Kyle (Duckworth) and their passion for music and their community. The people who come are very positive, very energizing and It seems that nobody goes away unhappy. I have played “Summerfest,” which is one of the biggest in the country and the atmosphere and camaraderie is nothing compared to that of Hollystock.”
The father and son team of Gary and Kyle Duckworth are two of the organizers of what has now become a huge boom to the Mount Holly economy, while promoting community unity through music. The elder of the pair recalls just how the idea came about, “It started with the joining of two ideas,” explains Gary.“There was a Facebook group of guys that played in bands back in the ’80s and they wanted to get back together for a show; that is where the name came from. The other being the idea to hold a music festival in town to promote the music and art related businesses that call Mount Holly Home. The goal of the festival is twofold; to promote the town and to give the incredibly talented and growing local music scene a place to showcase their talents.”
“Hollystock 2014″ is presented by the non-profit organization Main Street Mount Holly (MSMH) and is part of a national organization which promotes the rejuvenation of historic main street towns such as Mount Holly. The Duckworths own and operate a rapidly growing music hub called Hebe Music and are huge supporters of the live and original music scene. Their venue, along with Big Shots Bar regularly hosts an amazing array of original talent from all across the Delaware Valley. “Any time that I have ever played there at Hebe, they have been very supportive of bands and solo acts and it has always been a good experience,” stressed Mansour as she heaped praise upon the Duckworth family and the growing festival.“Soraia is very excited to play there and be a part of this again this year and hopefully for years to come.”
Soraia is an interesting name for this band, which draws it’s influences from rock ‘n’ roll as well as blues and soul music. “Soraia is actually my legal first name, it means powerful star or powerful force,” states Mansour. “There was a demo tape and my name was on it and the name just stuck so we went with it.”
The group, which formed in 2004, has garnered national attention from E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt and his “Underground Garage” radio program. “We had the #2 coolest song of the year and the #1 top original song of the year for 2013,” proclaimed a very proud Zou Zou. “Our song “Love Like Voodoo” was off of our “In The Valley of Love & Guns” CD which also made “Little Steven’s Top 5 Albums of the Year” as well.”
This is the type of talent which resides in the southern portion of the state and just across the bridge in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas. The Duckworths are increasingly dedicated to putting it on display, whether it be at Big Shots and the Hebe Lounge or through an avenue such as “Hollystock 2014.” This festival of arts and music continues to grow every year; drawing more and more interest and people to this little slice of Americana. The 2013 version featured more than sixty bands on three stages, a drum clinic by former Billy Joel drummer Liberty DeVitto and was attended by several thousand people; and from the looks of it, this year’s promises to swell to even larger numbers.
“Hollystock 2014″ is Saturday August 9 from “around noon” and goes until after dark. To find out more about this free event, please visit the website.
To discover more about Soraia, go to their web page at http://www.soraia.com.
Danny Coleman (Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.)