July 16

Richard Torrence and Sarah McMahon

Two of the most incredible muscicians in Bismarck, Richard Torrence and Sarah McMahon.

She’s played in numerous jazz, blues and jam bands in town. She’s a teacher. A mother and a down-to-earth person who is valuable to know.

Richard Torrence is a recorded guitarist who has opened for groups such as Fleetwood Mac. He is home in North Dakota, Bismarck to be exact and plays with only the best blues, jazz rock, jam musicians in town such as Sarah.


Arnold Jordan

I like shooting bands in town, especially those I “groove” to such as the Sarah McMahon Band, the Black Cat Rumble and others.  In this case, in the evening at Fiesta Villa the musicians play for an appreciative crowd on the patio between the old Northern Pacific Depot and the railroad tracks of the modern Burlington Northern Sante Fe line.

On this night, the same guitarist I caught the night before, Arnold Jordan is playing a gutsy and precise guitar for the blues band at Fiesta Villa.

It wasn’t much after this shot that I shut it down for the night. It gets too dark and too many shadows to shoot in a natural light, and I do not typically use a speed light.  I use the “golden hour” even for musicians on the back porch of a 150 year old depot.

June 19

Sarah McMahon band

Another great reason to extol the musical talent of Central North Dakota is the combined and individual talent of the Sarah McMahon band.  A little bit of rock, a little bit of blues, a little bit of jazz and a lot of soul is the mix  of these talented musicians.

Richard, Brad, Sarah and Laura bring different talents from their history of making music in the Bismarck-Mandan area and beyond.  They’ve come together this year to find their own sound, their own niche as a group.  I know of no one more talented than these musicians. They’re no bar band or garage band.

Their only liability is they are in Bismarck where musical venues to match their talents are rare.  They have to work extra hard to promote themselves, while keeping their day jobs because there just isn’t enough opportunity for them to earn what they deserve in Bismarck.

In this case I caught them at the Ribfest in Bismarck, center stage.  Usually they are confined to smaller venues such as the patio at Fiesta Villa or some other claustrophobic venue.

I wonder what it would take for Bismarck-Mandan to create a venue to support the massive amount of musical talent that lives and plays here in Central North Dakota. Got any ideas?