by Jim Swanson
Blues Boulevard

A sad day in the music world with the announcement of the Legendary George Duke passing away at age 67.

In 2008, we interviewed Mr. Duke for our previous website Progressive News Daily (which no longer exists).
It was a true delight to speak with George about all aspects of his career and his music.

You can hear the interview by clicking on the podcast link above. The interview lasts about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

For more on George’s passing, you can read the story from the L.A. Times HERE.

Posted by Jim, filed under Interview, Music, Music Special, News, Podcast. Date: August 6, 2013, 11:46 am | No Comments »

by Jim Swanson
Blues Boulevard

J. Backlund Design Guitars has been the newest and strongest kid on the block with their complete series of totally awesome, great playing and head turning guitars.

We reviewed one of their higher end models a while back (which you can read about HERE).

But now, J. Backlund Design has begun a brand new project to make their stellar guitars more affordable to “the masses”.

Their top of the line guitars remain the same. But J. Backlund has started the “Retronix Series Project” a Kickstarter guitar project where you can get involved as a contributor to get the ball rolling. But the time to get that ball rolling on these new guitars is limited. J. Backlund needs $75,000 by September 1, 2012. YOU can get involved by contributing to the cause with a package that you choose for your donation as a reward for your help. (See the list HERE)


Retronix is a new line of affordable instruments from J Backlund Design Guitars. The R-800 is our first great design for a new market.

The Retronix R-800 is the new offering from J. Backlund Design Guitars. It will be available in Tremolo, Hard-Tail and Bass models.

Since (the) early days, the response to our guitars has been overwhelmingly positive. However, we hear over and over again that our designs are cool; people simply can’t afford them. Our custom, hand made guitars range from $3500 to $7000. Some one-off models are even more. They are truly playable works of art. So, with your help and the through the magic of Kickstarter, we are going to make our guitars more accessible to working musicians and the musical world under the Retronix brand name.

For the last three years we have been diligently working on research and development and making our designs more repeatable and less costly to produce. However, it just not possible for us to produce the hand-made US products at a price point where we can compete with the import products. In order to bring these instruments to you at the suggested price points, we will have to outsource our manufacturing. Fortunately, during this development time we have made several industry connections that will make this process doable. We are in the unique position of having sourcing relationships with Korean manufacturers that produce many of the high quality instruments for brand names that you have know for years. All of our prototypes and programming has been completed and we are ready for production. This is where you come in. We are asking for $75,000 for manufacturing ramp up and production of the first run of Retronix guitars. We will have eight color choices and bass and six string models will be available. For the six-string model, you will also be able to choose between hard tail and tremolo models. Retail prices for these guitars will be between $1000 and $1250, depending on color and options. But, for the next 60 days we will be selling them to the Kickstarter community for significantly less than that, in order to generate enough orders to meet our initial minimum production requirements. Over on the right side of the page, you will see several packages. There are pledge levels for everyone that include: guitar picks, t-shirts, prints, and guitars, as well as actual one of a kind original artwork by John Backlund himself. Thanks to John, we already have several designs to launch and there are more to come.

This Kickstarter project is our first attempt at bringing an affordable model to the players. Visit our website to see some of our other great designs. Please pledge generously and help us bring the art of John Backlund and the vision of Bruce Bennett to the rest of the world. Be a part of history. Your pledges will help change the guitar world forever.


As for their other guitars, people all over the spectrum of the music business are taking notice and playing these great guitars.
Such as Mark Wills in his video “Looking For America”.


As for the prototypes, take a look at the Retronix R-800 and The Retronix R-800b (Bass guitar) below.

Get your pledge in TODAY before time runs out. Get all the information HERE.

Posted by Jim, filed under Guitar/Gear article, News, Special Feature. Date: July 25, 2012, 8:04 pm | No Comments »

many thanks to The Blues Blogger
You can check out his site HERE

It was around this time 42 years ago that Muddy Waters started working on his double vinyl release Fathers and Sons… And since today would’ve been Muddy’s 96th birthday, I want to briefly commemorate not only the album, but the man they called “Father of The Chicago Blues” on this special day.

By the time Muddy Waters’ Fathers and Sons was released in the summer of 1969, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, Woodstock took place and I was still entranced with Elizabeth Montgomery’s role as Samantha in Bewitched… On a sadder note, that was the year I lost my grandfather and almost lost my father when he had a heart attack.

Whenever I drift back to those days, I realize just how remarkable those times really were. But because I was so young, it took a while to fully comprehend its meaning and effect on me. I would later discover that through heartache came new found inspiration. The events and music of the time influenced my interest in writing. And it was albums such as Fathers and Sons that helped generate a personal soundtrack to my past. (MORE)

Posted by Jim, filed under Artist Spotlight, News. Date: November 7, 2011, 10:43 pm | No Comments »

A Letter From The Recording Academy

It has come to our attention that satellite broadcaster Sirius/XM is seeking to bypass the standard system of paying royalties. If they are allowed to do so, it will likely result in substantially reduced payments to artists and producers, a lowering of the value of performance royalties, and unnecessary conflict between artists and their labels.

What’s the issue:
Currently, satellite radio pays sound recording performance royalties to the nonprofit collective SoundExchange, which in turn pays 50% to the artists on the recording and 50% to the copyright owner (usually a record label). SoundExchange pays the artists the full 50%, even if the artist has unrecouped royalty balances, and also pays producers their share as directed by the artist. The system has resulted in an important new income stream for creators.

Sirius is now seeking to use the option of direct licensing with certain independent labels instead of using the system created by Congress that ensures fair payment to all parties. Artists should be concerned about direct licensing; 100% of the royalties would be paid to the record label which in turn may pay artists at a lower rate, subject to recoupment. And labels should be concerned as well; the lower rate being offered could have the effect of lowering the value of performance royalties to all parties.

What you can do:
If you are an artist signed to the independent label…
You can call your label today and request that it not direct license your recordings. In the interest of fairness and transparency, your label should continue to license through SoundExchange.

If you own or manage an independent label…
It is in your interest to refrain from direct licensing. While Sirius may be offering positive terms, the long-term effect of accepting a rate lower than the compulsory rate could be to reduce rates overall in the future. Creating downward pressure on the value of music may be good for Sirius/XM, but it’s bad for artists and labels. Please see the following statement from the American Association of Independent Music:

Thank you for considering this important matter to further our goals of ensuring creators are compensated fairly and the value of music is protected.

Kind regards,

Neil Portnow
The Recording Academy

Posted by Jim, filed under Music, News, Special Feature. Date: November 7, 2011, 10:30 pm | No Comments »

posted by Jim Swanson
Blues Boulevard

The Blues Foundation will honor 17 individuals and organizations with its 2012 Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) Award during a recognition brunch Saturday, February 4, 2012, in Memphis, Tennessee. Each year, The Blues Foundation presents the KBA Awards to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to blues music. The KBA ceremony will be held in conjunction with the 28th International Blues Challenge (IBC), which begins January 31 and features the final rounds of the world’s largest and most prestigious blues music competition, as well as seminars, showcases, and receptions for blues societies, fans, and professionals.

The KBAs are awarded on the basis of merit by a select panel of blues professionals to those working to actively promote and document the music.

The 2012 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards recipients are:

Agent: Rodgers Redding – Macon, Georgia
Club: Red’s Lounge – Clarksdale, Mississippi
Education: Dan Treanor – Arvada, Colorado
Festival-US: White Mountain Boogie ‘N Blues Festival – North Thornton, New Hampshire
Festival-International: Rawa Blues Festival – Katowice, Poland
Film, Television and Video: Treme, David Simon and Eric Overmyer, Executive Producers – New Orleans, Louisiana
International: Mike Lecuyer – Saint Michel de Montaigne, France
Journalism: Scott Barretta – Oxford, Mississippi
Literature: Life by Keith Richards – New York, New York
Manager: Toni Ann Mamary – Totowa, New Jersey
Organization: Blues Society of Western New York – Buffalo, New York
Photography: Aigars Lapsa – Riga, Latvia
Print Media: Soul Bag – Clichy, France
Promoter: George Wein -New York, New York
Radio: Commercial: Ted Todd–KKZX-FM – Spokane, Washington
Radio: Public: Harvey Stauffer–WVPE-FM – Elkhart, Indiana
Record Label: Severn Records – Annapolis, Maryland

Tickets to the KBA ceremony are sold only as part of the IBC Big Blue ticket package, available online at or by calling 901.527.2583.

Posted by Jim, filed under Music, News. Date: November 7, 2011, 10:23 pm | No Comments »

by Jim Swanson
Blues Boulevard

Hello, Blueslovers!

It’s been awhile since we last posted, but now things are somewhat straightened out in our lives, so we’re ready to bring you some great podcasts and keep you informed of what’s going on with artists, labels, new releases, concert and club appearances by some of your favorite Blues singers and six string slingers.

Let’s start off with a little BLUES NEWS:

2011 Blues Blast Music Award Winners

This year’s winners were announced at the awards ceremonies at Buddy Guy’s Legends, Chicago on October 27. Winners were chosen by more than 6,500 Blues Blast Magazine readers voting online.

Contemporary Blues CD
Buddy Guy – Living Proof

Traditional Blues CD
Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith – Joined At The Hip

Song Of The Year
Living Proof – Tom Hambridge & Buddy Guy

New Artist Debut Release
Chris O’Leary Band – Mr. Used to Be

Female Blues Artist
Robin Rogers

Male Blues Artist
Buddy Guy

Blues Band Of The Year
Trampled Under Foot

Sean Costello Rising Star Award
Trampled Under Foot


Posted by Jim, filed under Music, Music Video, News, Special Feature. Date: November 7, 2011, 10:13 pm | No Comments »

from an email from
TV Jones

All of the TV Jones guitars and pickups that were displayed at the Musikmesse trade show in Franfurt, Germany were stolen after the show Saturday March 27, 2010.

When our transport company arrived to stand J40 in hall 4.0, the stand was completely empty. Many of the items are one-of-a-kind prototypes and would be easy to identify. Here is a partial list of the stolen items:

-Model 10 Prototype in tobacco sunburst w/P90 pickups
-Model 10 Prototype in natural toffee w/ T-Armond pickups
in P90 mount
-Model 10 in Ice Blue w/single bridge pickup
-Model 10 in Crimson Red w/single bridge pickup
-Model 10 in BLACK w/ 2 pickups

We are asking all of our friends to spread the word far and wide via blogs, forums, any means possible. In the hope that we can retrieve these rare stolen instruments.

Click here to see a full list and photos of all the stolen gear.

Posted by Jim, filed under News. Date: April 11, 2010, 12:39 pm | No Comments »