December 30 — Grindhouse Theater Blues

Grindhouse Theater blues

We leave 2010 with a recurring theme — local musicians.  It’s been an unexpected pleasure this year to shoot the bands and musicians I’ve hooked up with such as these fellows.  On the left,Weston Shick. On the right Arnold Jordan.  (I have yet to be introduced to the guitarist in the middle.)

North Dakota is blessed with rich musical talent.  I think it is because there are people in this culture who realize if there’s going to be entertainment here, they have to make it. So, they make entertainment for themselves and for us.

For my part, I try to capture not only the moment as it existed, but add to it in a bit of a creative burst of energy, my own interpretation of the moment with processing and framing.  That’s the entertainment I make for myself.

There are few places for them to perform, but the East 40 Chophouse in Bismarck is one.  The lounge with its cozy atmosphere and warm fireplace is a great place to enjoy a respite from winter with good friends such as these.

August 26


Arnold Jordan

I just can’t help myself. I think some of the best and brightest talents of North Dakota need more exposure.   They all have day jobs which help pay for their love which in this case is music.  Arnold Jordan is one of those young artists who needs to be known nationally. He’s had the good fortune to play with some big regional acts and I hope his exposure continues.  In this case, I caught him in the lounge of the East 40 in Bismarck, a cozy chop house.


You’ve seen him here before on ND 365, and you probably will again. As much as I love shooting motorcycles and motorcycle events, I like shooting musicians as much and sometimes more.  Arnold is one of my favorite musicians to photograph.

February 8

Ben Suchy at the East 40

Here’s a dedicated talented musician. Ben Suchy, every Monday night has a gig at the East 40 Chophouse in Bismarck.  He plays his folk/blues/bluegrass/jam music every night to a cozy crowd in the bar at the Chophouse. Ben has a couple of recordings on the market and if you like musicians such as Jack Johnson or moe or Neil Young or Taj Mahal, you’d like Ben.  He comes from an extremely talented farm family south of Mandan.  If you listen much to Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keilor, you may have heard Ben, or his sister Andra or his dad Chuck, the North Dakota Troubador.

Getting this shot was not easy for me because I don’t have a very fast lense that does well in dark locations.  I took several shots, and this turned out the best.  During his next break, Ben came over as he always does, and we chatted a bit.  A group of guys gathered at the table and shared a pizza.

Ben is the kind of son anyone would be glad to have, a tribute to hardworking, high-quality Americans.  Raised on the farm, he knows how to work and when he’s not making music, he’s making his way as a landlord and making his way in the real estate business.  I’m glad to know a guy like this will be taking over the next generation of leadership.