notes by Rick Shubb
I first met Rory Hoffman when he played with the John Jorgenson Quintet at our annual event at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. I was impressed by his musicianship then, but I had seen only the tip of the iceberg. After that show, I was curious to know more about Rory, so I googled him on YouTube. Yikes! This guy gives a whole new meaning to the term “multi-instrumentalist.” I invite you to do the same, and plan on spending a couple of hours discovering this amazing musician.
The term “multi-instrumentalist” often gets applied to a player who can double on two or three instruments, usually similar instruments, like guitar and mandolin or ukulele. But Rory plays practically anything — strings, horns, keyboards, you name it — and he is world class on all of them.
The most remarkable thing about Rory is not how many instruments he plays; it is not the fact that he is blind; it is not that he plays left-handed: it is not that he holds his pick differently than anyone else I’ve seen; it is not even the fact that he plays guitar and other fretted instruments turned face-up on his lap, fretting them from above. No, the most remarkable thing is how good he is. On any one of his instruments, he can go toe-to-toe with anyone. Oh, I almost forgot. He’s a really good singer, too.
Rory doesn’t use a capo very often, especially on horns or keyboards. He mainly uses one when he plays banjo, and … here comes my favorite part … the only capo he uses is a Shubb.
“I’ve been using Shubb capos since I was a kid. In fact, I was so young
I’d mispronounce it as “shove” capo. I have the 5th string capo on my
banjo, which is a hundred times easier and more in tune than spikes.
Of course I have several other Shubbs for my guitars, mandolin, and
other instruments.” — Rory Hoffman