The Amazing Rory Hoffman

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“Hey Doug, you gotta come over to the studio and do a story on this guy from Lemmon…you won’t believe it.”
That was a call I got nine years ago from Will Prines who operates “Creative Communications” in Sioux Falls and who has produced and recorded the music of many very talented people since going into business back in the 70’s.
“His name is Rory Hoffman,” he sings…plays 14 different instruments…and oh, yeah, he’s blind.”
I rounded up a photographer and off we went to meet this one man band.
In spite of Will’s enthusiasm, I sort of half expected this guy to be one of those jack-of-all-trades..master of none..type musicians.
When we arrived, they were just wrapping up a session. Rory was playing the piano, which I assumed was his instrument of choice because it certainly sounded as if he’d mastered it.
Then he grabbed a saxophone to lay down another track. Oh, my gosh, I thought, he’s great at that too.
Rory took a break for our interview. That’s when I learned how he grew up in a gospel music family, Roland Hoffman and the Believers.
Born blind, Rory began traveling with the group at the age of five..playing drums. Rory Hoffman played drums but eventually turned the sticks over to his little brother.
As we talked, Rory said when he was little he wanted to play guitar like his father but his hands were too small to fit around the neck so he laid the instrument across his lap..backwards..and started picking the strings with his left hand and making chords with his right.Rory pickin’ guitar "his" way at age 7 or 8
“Do you still play guitar today?” I asked.
Rory smiled and said, “Well, yeah, that’s kind of my specialty, I guess.”
“Okay, let’s hear some.”
With that, Rory Hoffman opened the case next to his feet, pulled out a beautiful Fender Stratocaster guitar, laid it across his lap..plugged it in and proceed to cause my jaw to drop in amazement as his fingers flew across the neck at lightning speed.
I had never seen or heard anything like it.             (left) Rory performing with his brother, Reed, who is also musical and also blind. (right) Rory sitting in with a couple of other South Dakota originals, Williams & Ree at Hostfest in North Dakota.
“I’m working on my first album, he said. “It’s called “Blind Faith”..a collection of some favorite old hymns that I’ve kind of put my own style to. I’ll send you a CD when it’s done.”
I got lots of phone calls after my story aired on Keloland..all from people wanting to know more about this incredible performer.
Good to his word, Rory sent me the CD a few weeks later which I still play all the time.
  Jammin’ with fellow pickers in Nashville                 Performing on stage at CCMA awards 
Rory Hoffman has gone on to record a second album called “Fishin” plus he’s won lots of awards including “musician of the year” honors from the Christian Country Music Association in 2004 and 2005.
But now, I’m a bit concerned.  His website has been closed and I don’t know where he is or what he’s doing.
I certainly hope good things have been coming his way and the world will soon know of his talents.
I’ve never heard anyone better.
If you don’t believe me, click here to watch and listen to this performance he made last year at the Independent Music and Media Professionals (IMMA) conference in Kansas City.
Hang on!

1 Comment

  1. jae says:

    I camera across your blog on a search for Rory. I grew up in Lemmon andplayed clarinet next to Rorys brother. ryAnyways, be on the lookout for a book about Rory coming out written by his sister. Its called Rorys Story. its sure to be any excellent read!

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