I've been on stage and studio since age 4. I have 4 albums of my own, plus many others I've worked on. Feature articles in Guitar Player magazine and Just Jazz Guitar. Played the Grand Ole Opry with Ricky Skaggs, John Cowan, Kathy Mattea.
I have a home recording space for doing overdubs on acoustic or electric guitar, mandolin, tenor or 5-string banjo, ukulele, accordion, harmonica, keys, sax, flute, clarinet, Brazilian cuatro, jewsharp, pennywhistle, autoharp, percussion. vocals, other odds and ends. Since I own and play all these instruments, I am also skilled as an arranger, finding unique or clever ways to integrate these multiple textures. I'm good at following direction by a client, or equally good if the client doesn't know exactly what he wants and gives me creative liberties to interject my ideas. Hiring me for multiple instruments on a song can be a benefit, because I will know what I previously played, and can easily find a complimentary part on another instrument. You can hire me and get a huge array of sounds, saving you money and time.
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Interview with Rory Hoffman
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: My own record. This will be my 4th. It's not genre specific; it's just good music I like. So far, I have an acapella jazz arrangement, a Brazilian choro arrangement of a Bobby Vee tune, a gypsy jazz tune I co-wrote called the Ballad for James Bond, a polka I wrote in homage to my favorite roller coaster...you get the drift.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital. This website is digital isn't it? Aren't I going to be sending you a digital .wav file of my work? I don't accept rolls of 2-inch tape in the mail. Digital is better. We have more headroom and less noise and distortion than ever before. It ain't technology's fault that some engineers like to squash the crap out of mixes and make digital sound sucky.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Probably that a lot of people think I must be OK at a lot of things, but not really good at any of them. That changes once they work with me. :)
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: When you hire me, either know what you want, or give me freedom to do what I think is best. One thing I have trouble with is people who don't know what they do want, but they are emphatic about what they DON'T want, which doesn't make it easy to satisfy that client.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A desert island wired with electricity?
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I made my first recording with the family band at age 4. So i've been doing this all my life. I had a production company/recording studio in South Dakota for years before I made the move to Nashville in 2008.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: A lot of swing and country music. But that being said, everything. Taiwanese folk music. (no, not kidding)
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Playing lots of instruments at a professional level. Many studio guys here like hiring me for overdubs, because i can put diverse things like accordion, tenor banjo, and clarinet on a song. And since I'm doing all those parts, the work flow is quick, because you don't have to find and hire 3 people, and I already know the song, so laying the second or third part in is quick and easy.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: a knowledge of many genres of music, a knowledge of many types of stringed, wind, keyboard, and misc instruments. I know what's possible, and since I do play lots of things at a high level, sometimes I do things that a specialist on one instrument might not think of. I bring creativity. For instance, on my own record, i did an all harmonica arrangement of a Cole Porter standard, and changed a well-known country song into a bossa nova. I know how to play it straight, or how to think outside the lines.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Don't really have one. Some clients know exactly what they want and can articulate clearly. Others just kinda leave it to me.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Mine is strictly an overdub space, or place for me to work. I turned one of my bedrooms into a studio. Lots of instruments, good virtual synths, good mics. Recording into Sonar. But again, living in Nashville, I'm connected with professional grade studios if you have budget and can tell the difference. :)
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most of my remote studio work is overdubbing 1 or 2 instruments over an already existing track. Occasionally, I'm asked to create an entire track for someone, playing all the instruments, or if budget permits, hiring a studio and other musicians in Nashville. I am well connected with fantastic players here.