Sereno CD
CD Reviews...

. . . we've been listening to Sereno. It is a gorgeous sounding album. I love the detail, richness and clarity in the sound. It's a very enjoyable listen . . . my compliments to Sandy . . . It reminds of the beautiful acoustic albums Anthony Phillips (the original Genesis guitarist) made in the 1970's.

Gary Dalkin, Press and Media Coordinator for the Poole Literary Festival & New Media Writing Prize and Content Editor for,


SERENO REVIEW from from Jim Earp Guitar

Sereno is a truly sweet and engaging record . . . ! What strikes me most about [it] is the fact that the songs you write are just that- songs- with accessible song structure and clear, definable, hummable melodies. I've always held that the melodies that resonate with the masses are . . . rooted in the voice and not invented on a fretboard- and I can tell that you intuitively understand this as well. Personally, I've always found the most listenable solo acoustic guitar discs to be recordings filled with actual songs that create an emotional response and tell actual "stories"- rather than discs filled with jaw-dropping pyrotechnics and techniques strung end-to-end trying to pass themselves off as songs. I don't think a CD like yours can come from a guitarist who simply listens to other guitarists and who spends all his time practicing tricks and techniques in his bedroom. Your decades invested as a player who listens to and studies great songs and songwriters shines through this project. . . . it's always a treat to listen to an experienced player who knows how to structure a melody in a song and how to turn a phrase and to create dynamics within that song structure- and who isn't just playing for other guitarists. Your CD is a fine collection of stories told from the heart and played with an overall pleasing spiritual vibe- and that probably accounts for the unanimously positive response you're getting from players and non-players alike.

Jim Earp, guitarist, SOLIDAir records,


SERENO REVIEW from New Mexico Magazine
Story by Emily Drabanski

Santa Fean Sandy Hoffman has made a name for himself in Christian music circles as an acclaimed guitarist who has taught guitar around the world, and as a regular contributor to Worship Musician magazine. But with the release of his new acoustic guitar album, Sereno, he hopes to reach a wider audience. "My goal is to give people a sense of serenity and peace through my music," Hoffman says. "I hope it helps people consider the spiritual side of life. It's definitely music that encourages people to be contemplative."

Sereno is perfect for a lazy summer afternoon, whether sipping an iced tea or just lounging in a hammock. It will appeal to those who enjoy guitarist Leo Kottke and the fingerpicking style of Doc Watson.

Hoffman spent his youth in North Carolina, playing music. His aunt taught him to play the ukulele when he was only five years old, and at 10 he began his study and love of the cello. The 54-year-old admits, however, that he got hooked on the guitar when he heard the Beatles. When Hoffman was 17, he left high school to join the first touring cast of the musical Godspell. "It was so worth it," he says about this life-changing experience, which strengthened his love of music. (He later earned his high school diploma.)

The guitarist says that New Mexico offers him the serenity, beauty, and peace that he's always sought. He first lived in Santa Fe in the late 1990s, then moved to northern California for several years; but in 2005, after his kids had grown up, he returned to Santa Fe. The departure of his youngest to study in Austria and the feelings of "an empty nest" led him to write Sereno's title track, which features a mesmerizing yet melancholic melody.

While not every composition on the album is about New Mexico, most of them were written here. "Agua Frķa" is a contemplative yet spirited, written when Hoffman was living at his first Santa Fe address, on Agua Frķa Street. Most of Sandy Hoffman's instrumentals feature elegant fingerstyle guitar playing, but on several of them he has layered the sounds of the other instruments he plays, which include the cello, tambourine, acoustic bass guitar, and synthesizer piano.


SERENO REVIEW from Mike Engledinger, Mike's Music Exchange, Eldorado, NM

Sandy Hoffman's musical style may well be described as easy going, uplifting, inspirational, and in ways meditative, but that won't stop you from tapping your toes in time with his intuitive rhythms.

His impeccable precision and skill in guitar finger style playing is readily apparent, and the composition of his songs clearly demonstrates careful, thoughtful hand crafted artistry.

Sandy's latest CD, "Sereno," is an instrumental collection of songs inspired by his worldwide travels, but it's rooted in thoughts of his home in Santa Fe.


SERENO - REVIEW from Christian Musician Magazine

Sandy Hoffman is another columnist from CM and WM who has recently re-leased the fine, instrumental guitar album, Sereno, a collection of picturesque tunes inspired by places and people close to his heart. Largely a solo guitar album, with just a smattering of percussion and synth strings, Sereno is warm and inviting, especially when Hoffman plays his Kevin Ryan "Nightingale" acoustic.

It evokes many memories of sunny days, rolling hills, and clashing ocean waves, through Hoffman's use of dynamics and the alternating of strumming, slapping and picking styles throughout. Hoffman's fingerstyle playing is exceptionally articulate, yet retains a smooth flow when needed. Notable compositions are: "Kana Vaka Levu," derived from a Fijian phrase that means "eat a lot" and clearly earns its title with its playfulness, as Hoffman does an almost comical (yet musically impressive) long chordal walkdown to a big E chord to end the song; "Roundabout Rag," a delightful tune that is successful in suggesting the verdant valleys and the multi-colored leaves his kids used to play in while visiting North Carolina; and "The Nod," which offers a joyful melody line that sprang from Hoffman's realization that God was fine with him playing instrumental music to honor Him.

Sereno is a simple album, full of pleasures that may not bowl you over at first blush, but given the time to sink in will, hopefully, inspire the feelings of peace, joy and contentment that caused Hoffman to write and record these songs in the first place.

Shawn McLaughlin for Christian Musician Magazine Jan/Feb 2010 Volume 15, Issue Number 1.