Return to the Tropics


As I write from the northernmost post in my array of bases on this fair planet of ours I am in the midst of a particularly gripping blues rock and acoustic rock jag that I am hoping will translate nicely into some new rarefied form of Trop Rock that I can bring along back with me when I return to the sunnier climes of southwestern Florida and the Keys at the end of the month!

I am BACK and ON track!

The Official Launch of Renn Loren & the Tiki Town Castaways!

Tiki Town Logo

We are now under way with a new album in the final stages of mixing, mastering and packaging THANKS VERY MUCH to: Mikee Schaaf and Vickie Brown Schaaf!

With any luck my very first American album should be ready for release in October.

Our “Somewhere South of Somewhere…. Still North of Nowhere Tour” which kicks off in Key West at the Tropical Songwriters in Paradise event, October 31st at Durty Harry’s on Duval St will follow to coincide with the record’s release.

In addition to being available at all major digital outlets there will be a limited number of physical CDs.

Thanks again to Mikee and Vickie Brown Schaaf for making all of this possible!

Tropicalian Tales from the Road: Sauda Gig, March 8-9, 2013

Today as I drove around the pristinely scenic mountainous fjord side splendor that is Sauda on a very atypical bright, sunny day – Sauda on its best behavior, the chosen soundtrack for my sentimental journey was a compilation CD I’d made of songs to learn (or re-learn as is too often the case these days!)

Frozen Expase of Sauda Fjord

Frozen Expase of Sauda Fjord

I drove up to check in on my friend Edvin Haslnes. Edvin, his brothers Jarle and Stein were all big time ski champions in another lifetime now decades ago. Time does indeed fly – whether you’re having fun or not!

As I drove up the small back country road that wound its way up to his place the Spin Doctors’ Two Princes song came blasting out of my car’s speakers sounding just as fresh and vital as it did the very first time I had ever heard it. Instantly I was transported back to 1992… Until I suddenly and sadly realized that it was now 2013 and that song and the time it happened in was now 20 years gone in a past that truly seems like it was just yesterday.

Edvin's Place - Sauda, Norway

Edvin’s Place – Sauda, Norway

Edvin wasn’t in but as I walked around the deck of his red and white-trimmed cabin soaking in the beauty of the sun-drenched mountain vistas I heard the sound of kids voices wandering down the distant road across his rolling mountain farm property. By instinct I fully expected to see Edvin’s young children walking down that road on the way home with their ever-faithful border collie, Laika, traipsing along tail wagging and that always present smile full of canine teeth, flopping tongue and flashing bright eyes. The absence of any canine companion caused me to suddenly realize (once again) that this was 2013. It just seems abstract. I’m not finished with 2005 yet and it’s already 2013?!

I always get this strangely disorienting feeling that time has moved on without letting me know (other than the aches and pains of the aging process!) There is still so much more that I wanted to get out of those years that have now passed into the never ending all-too-rapid and all but invisible twinkling of an eye succession of pentads-into decades and suddenly 20 years are gone just like that. Years blink by at way beyond the speed of understanding them. If you need proof that there is no other time than right here, right now, you needn’t look any further than remembering that today is your past’s present and tomorrow is every bit as inconceivable as today was 20 years ago. We don’t actually experiencing the passage of years but only a constantly shifting perception of the now every time our eyes open from each sleep.

Edvin's Sundeck

Edvin’s Sundeck

I looked at Edvin’s wooden, boat-like sundeck in the sunlight overlooking a view of unimaginable mountain serenity and thought how many great parties and gatherings had maybe gone on there that I would have loved to have been a part of. My thoughts turned to how many calm, cool, reflective and even forward-looking chats we should have had there over coffee or beer. I have always very much liked and admired Edvin wishing I could have had a lot more of his traits. His mom is a dynamic and fantastic woman and his father, Inge, was legendary. He must have been a great man because all of his sons are the kind of guys most men would wish to be like. Women might not get ’em but the guys do most definitely.

Edvin Halsnes

Edvin Halsnes

Edvin is one of those guys I wish I could spend a lot more time with because I would be certain to learn a lot from him. I always have.

With the picture-perfect weather and the emotion-evoking drive down Sweet Memories Lane in that otherworldly beauty of sugar-white, sun-drenched bliss I considered my life and how incredibly lucky I have been. I may have lost Hawaii by way of my having been adopted but I gained a whole world, and ironically I spend a good deal of my time back in the tropics playing my trop-rock music.

As I gazed ’round at the magnificent white, crisp fjord side mountain splendor I realized that in just one month I would indeed be a world away back in the tropical environs of Key West.



The life of a Tropicalian does have its moments.

The words of Zac Brown come to mind: “I’ve got my toes in the water ass in the sand not a worry in the world a cold beer in my hand – Life is good today, Yeah, Life is GOOD today!

Dream Beach Bar

Dream Beach Bar

It’s important to remember that and take the time to be thankful that you’re still here – in the game because these are “the good ol’ days!”

Watching the Movie….. As Tonight’s Gig Looms

It’s 39 degrees Fahrenheit as the rapidly changing skyscapes drift on by on this rather mild yet blustery day. The skies are mostly bright but there’s mystery in ’em all the same. There’s a real feeling of many years and lifetimes having passed and I feel a sentimental longing for something lost unawares somewhere along the way tugging at my being and hampering my ability to connect with a sense of the now.Timeless, Windswept

Perhaps it’s lost youth, or simply an aspect of it which taunts.

Today’s yet another day when I experience the very unsettling and wholly disorienting sensation of being outside of and apart from what is happening – as if I am watching a movie and not being a part of what is going on right here right now.

Tonight’s gig is out in Olen, about 50 minutes to the east of Haugesund. I look forward to the chance to jam and feel the unifying power of music’s ability to anchor one in time and place with my fellow sound surfers.

In trying to gain purchase on the temporal aspects of the slippery dimensions of reality I am searching out various bands and artists that might give me a sense of purpose or connection to this time and place. To that end I quite like the Avett Brother’s latest as well as Samantha Crain and the wonderfully brilliant manic strumfest that is Langhorne Slim & The Law.

At the far end of the spectrum of contemporary albums is the latest by Thom Yorke. While I can enjoy the ultra-mod sonics and experimentation of it and its complete disconnect from guitars and the constraints of traditional instrumentation song structures – it also leaves me with the strange feeling that this is the sort of music that anyone could make given enough time with nothing else to do and decent recording equipment in their home studio. For me it’s about songs and heartfelt melodies that tug at the sentimental heartstrings of soul calling out from another time or place, whether it be the good old days of yesteryear or the good old days of a future yet to come…. Timeless music made with acoustic instruments seems to be able to transcend time and space. A guitar, banjo or ukulele plucked, a piano pounded or coaxed still sounds the same as it did 100 or 200 years ago and yet sounds as fresh as the first time I ever heard it…. when accompanied by the right melody, voice or attitude.

See y’all soon Olen!

From Conversations with Kim and John: Music

Perhaps it keeps the darkest dankest recesses of the universe at bay and gives me a power against it.

I think there is a lot to that aspect of it all.

I do NOT make music or perform it for attention. I do it for the catharsis and therapy.

It whirls and flutters like a moth in the candlelight flicker of my soul, gathers gravity and substance in my heart and finds expression through my being.

But I think that’s just the Hawaiian thing…..176333_273210769449018_2136196264_o.jpg

Late Night at the Lagoon

Aloha from Norway!

Tiki Tribalists Unite!

Today I will begin to record my 1 hour radio program: “Late Night at the Lagoon” for Tiki Island Radio.


Recorded live in a studio at the foot of picturesque Vardafjell mountain in the west coast town of Haugesund the show will feature an hour of information and tips about artists not normally heard on regular radio programming and seeks to stretch and challenge the bounds of what is considered Trop Rock and Island Music. We will feature such artists as Petty Booka, Martin Denny, Don Tiki, Morcheeba, Thief Corporation, Kinobe, Massive Attack, various surf bands, and of course some of my own music that I don’t normally play but that is very island nonetheless.

If we’re really lucky we’ll get some interesting insights, quips and asides from my Norwegian engineer BT.