Håkon Høye
“Nights At The Surf Motel”

Big H Records

By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © Feb. 2020

Along with having previously worked with other bands from this country, and having just seen the country’s Norsk Bluesunion and Oslo Bluesklubs blues societies representatives perform at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, listening to Håkon Høye’s second release – “Nights At The Surf Motel” – have me strongly convinced that the blues is in very good hands in Norway.  

“Nights At The Surf Motel” contains ten tracks of which eight are originals.  On the project, Håkon Høye – on lead vocals, guitars, electric bass and loops – is joined by: Per Torbo on electric bass and backup vocals; Vetle Larsen on drums and percussion and Kasper Skullerud Værnes on tenor and baritone saxophones.  Additional musicians include: William R. Troiani on electric bass; Kjell Magne Lauritzen on piano; Eivind Høye on accordion; Alexander Peterson on drums; Kim E. Bergseth on organ, acoustic guitar, backup vocals and loops; Christopher “Kid” Andersen, Lisa L. Andersen and James, Dwayne and Walter Morgan – collectively known as The Sons of The Revivers;  on backup vocals; with the horns being arranged by Kasper Skullerud Værnes and Håkon Høye.

Just because you may have never gone to one in search of a rim for your Ford Ranger, a radiator for your Chevy Malibu, or a hubcap for your Dodge Dart, don’t be so sure that you’ve never been to one of these.  Chances are you have and it could very well have been the “Junkyard Of Dreams”.  According to Håkon, the replacement parts you find there will serve you much better than that rim, that radiator or that hubcap.  Strong rhythm from Per and Vetle on the bass and drums with great guitar and piano leads by Håkon and Kjell.

“Stay Awhile” is one of those kind of songs that could easily have you wondering where you may have heard it before.  But since the song is a Håkon Høye/William R. Troiani original – you haven’t!  That said, think back to the late sixties – early seventies and a band called The Band. Ohhhhh yeah!  It doesn’t get any more Americana than this.  Vocally, this is one of Håkon’s best performances.      

On a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “You Must Believe Me”,  Håkon and the band have that 50’s and 60’s R&B sound down pat.  As a matter of fact, on the lead and backup vocals, Håkon and The Sons Of The Revivers are sounding as impressive now as the Impressions did back then.  Great job guys!

I found it to be oddly interesting that some of Håkon’s best guitar work is on a cover of Richard Berry’s “Sweet Sugar You”.  Since Richard predominantly performed with doo-wop groups of the early fifties it’s the musical aspect that surprisingly highlights this version.  Håkon certainly took this cover and made it his own. 

“Nights At The Surf Motel” – the disc’s title and closing track is also the best and bluesiest of the lot.  This slow blues track contains all of the elements required to make it to the top of my list: slowly and soulfully sung melancholic lyrics; soft yet scorching guitar leads; that faint yet stimulating sound of the ivories being tickled ever so lightly; and a simplified soothing rhythm.  Real good stuff right here!      

Other tracks on this very well done disc include: “One Floor Down”; “Good Thing”; “My Darkest Hour”; “Time Will Tell” and”Waistin’ Time With You”.

By the way, if you think you’ve heard the name Håkon Høye before but can’t put your finger on where, he played on Louisiana Red’s 2010 Blues Music Award nominated release titled “” and he’s also backed up Mitch Kashmar, RJ Mischo, Tad Robinson and many others.  You can learn about all that and more by visiting Back To The Black BayouHåkon at
When you do, please tell him the Blewzzman sent you.