Welcome

Welcome to Martha Colby's web site! Please feel free to sign up for my mailing list. I promise not share your info, or to take over you inbox with daily mailings..  But I will let you know when I'm performing someplace other than in Yellowstone National Park. 

Looking for a job for the winter... :( 

Hello Friends!

Time has been such an odd thing this season..  It seems like it keeps dragging on, yet it's already the end of September and now I need to start packing! Xanterra has opted to hold off on the music for this coming winter season so this will be my first season out of the park in a long time. Anyone know of any venues who might want a resident musician??  I would love any leads anyone might have... especially around New England so that I can help out my folks. It looks like  I need to work on my video chops as well as recording, mixing, mastering, cello, piano and vocals. I'll be busy, even if unemployed.  This too, shall pass. I wish you all love,  peace, ease, happiness and good fortune! 

Still here, still working 

Greetings and salutations from Yellowstone! 

I'm still here! Hurrah!! This is definitely not a year like any other and hopefully not like any to come. If you are planning on visiting the park, just know that it is not like the park you may be used to. Face masks are required inside of all buildings for your protection and for the protection of others. A lot of places are closed (like my beloved Inn!!! :( ), and there are limited numbers of people allowed inside buildings, so there are lines. Those of us who work here understand and share your frustration – please don't take your anger out on us! Worst of all – there is no music! I encourage you to write to Xanterra or post on Tripadvisor how much you miss the music and maybe add just how healing and soothing it would be for guests and employees alike (hint hint). I'd love to be employed this winter.... 

I am proud and astounded to say that we who work here have so far kept the COVID cases to two in the entire park. If you have ever experienced a Snow Lodge winter as an employee, or even as a guest, then you well know that what comes around goes around – to pretty much everyone. Some of us suspect that we may have had early exposure to COVID this past winter... But who knows? Anyhoo... I continue to wear my name tag and sanitize door knobs and am grateful that it seems to be helping. 

In my off time I have been working slowly but steadily on a new CD. I am getting ready to publish “Flying Daffodils” as a single, with a “B” side of a new song called “With Me, With You”. I was inspired to write the latter song by some dear friends of mine who lost one of their parents while in lockdown in nursing homes. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and have not been able to be with them or to give them proper goodbyes. “With Me, With You” is meant to be a song for closure and for finding peace with an incredibly difficult situation. I am very close to being finished with the mix and it will be released soon. 

Recently I have been given permission to practice on my lovely friend, the Kawai piano, in the Inn. This is top secret, so don't tell anyone and I can't let you inside. I must say, the Inn gets really spooky without any lights on after dark...I've been playing by headlamp. 

Again, if you have any requests for the new album, let me know! So far I have at least partially in the cans my two new songs as well as Hallelujah and Purple Rain. I think I'll be working next on Both Sides Now and Cannon in D, as well as Last of the Mohicans. The Lake Quartet has also been starting in on some remote recording. This is all new territory for us, but we tried a Scott Joplin rag for our first distance recording, and it seems to have come out well. I have to get permission before I can post it, otherwise I'd include it in this post. 

In other excitement, Giantess geyser erupted for the first time since 2014 (so I've heard, and it clicks with my memory) and just last week the smoke from a wildfire started billowing from the Lone Star area – about 3 miles from the Old Faithful Village. Yeeks! Fortunately the wind has been blowing it away from us and we got a good soaking of rain a couple of nights ago, so it is holding steady at 850 acres and we are expecting to get some nighttime temps in the 20's soon, so I think we won't have to evacuate. To all those who have had to evacuate while remaining socially distanced and wearing masks, I send you my heartfelt prayers and wishes for well being. Well, that goes for all of you. 

May you be well. 

May you be free of suffering. 

May you be peaceful and at ease. 

May you be happy.

 

xox

Martha

Songbirds!  

Hello again from the Old Faithful Twilight Zone! It's a hot one today (at least for us - nearly 80 today in Old Faithful).  I have been faithfully sanitizing our employee living quarters so that no one spreads disease. Keeping my fingers crossed that I might be able to sit in my music corner again sometime. 


There have been a lot of bluebirds around this year, as well as the usual gangs of pocket gophers, marmots, coyotes and our resident bear with cub - and, let me not forget - our community of bison milling and grunting around.  They always put a smile on my face. 


During the elongated break I wrote a song called "Flying Daffodils", which is how my mom refers to goldfinches. Indeed, they do look like bright, happy, flying daffodils, so I was inspired to write something cheerful when everything continues to be rather messed up here on Planet Earth.  I also have been taking an online home recording and mixing course. Excellent course! Thanks to the Recording Revolution, my latest mix of this song is world's better than the first. I am giving you, dear friends and listeners, a sneak peek of my latest mix.  Let me know what you think! 

Back at Old Faithful in the Twilight Zone 

Greetings! Salutations! Happy Memorial Day.  I have just made a new season's resolution of posting and visiting my site much more often! For the past 10 years I have been blessed with performing regularly and barely having to lift a finger to promote my music. Some of you may have guessed that promotion is not my strong point... I'm attempting to turn over a new leaf. It can often be challenging with the slowest internet on earth, but I am optimistic about this summer since our staff is about 1/3 of normal, and visitation will be lower due to lack of lodging. 

Back when I was a child, one of my favorite books was "Fortunately, Unfortunately".  Here is the Martha C version as of May 25fth. 

Fortunately our winter season went on as scheduled and I enjoyed playing music. Perhaps you were there at some point?

Unfortunately the world caught an extreme virus and everything changed almost overnight. 

Fortunately I was able to stay with my parents for an extended period of time to help out and watch spring spring in CT. 

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Yellowstone is not having any live music this year. 

Fortunately I was offered a job at Old Faithful for the season anyhow.

Unfortunately I won't be playing music or giving body work. 

Fortunately i am back in the park that I love oh so dearly. 

 

I shall pause it here. I have had multiple requests for a new CD including a lot of the looping tunes that I play in the Inn and at the Snow Lodge.  My goal over this summer is to get that recorded! Over the break I signed up for a bunch of various online classes -- one of which being a home recording and mixing course, so we'll see how I do on my own.  Let me know if there is a particular song you would like to hear on the recording. 

Sending you all warm wishes. 

Happy 90 to Fritz Smith!  

The Old Faithful Inn is back in full swing for the summer season of 2019. It hasn't felt like summer, as I think it has snowed more days than not since I've been back. But the sun has returned, bluebirds and bears are out and it's lovely to be back with my friend the Kawai on the 2nd floor of the Inn. 

On another note, I'm very very sorry that I was unable to connect with my Zero Balancing family who were gathered for a benefit and for the celebration of the 90th birthday of Dr Fritz Smith, the creator of ZB and nothing less than a true and dear inspiration and mentor.  I'm so very grateful that i have become part of this incredible community.  I was honored with the invitation to play for this gathering, but alas! I couldn't make it.  I did play this improvisation in honor of Fritz instead. 

Winter in Yellowstone during the government shutdown 

Today there are finally lovely snow flakes finding their way from air to earth. This is winter number eight for me here at Snow Lodge, and I can't tell you how grateful I am to Xanterra that I am currently still employed during this government shutdown, and that we are continuing to operate somewhat normally (at a huge cost to the company). I wish I could say the same for all of my friends here who work for Park Service.  The shut down has laid a very grave instability in our groundwork, and has been the source of a lot of anger and concern for the future. Good friends of mine are either not working at all, or being required to work and not getting paid for it. Those of us who work for the park generally don't make a lot of money in the first place, so when Trump claims that we can just adjust -- well, no... actually we can't.  And those who are in  essential positions and working for free are not eligible for unemployment benefits because they are working. In the name of "protection", our government seems to be waging war on those of us who work for the good of the country. It's disturbing and frankly infuriating.  Here in Yellowstone we generally step back from the day to day goings on in the political arena. We concern ourselves with our community - both human and wild - and our weather.  This winter has been low on snow and high on temps, as well as uncertainty.  We as human beings need to retract our walls between each other. it is time for us to start communicating with open hearts and open minds, before it is too late. I have been blessed to be able to do what I love best in my favorite place on earth. I cherish each day here and I love the people I work with and the visitors I have the good fortune to become acquainted with - from all over the globe.  We all fundamentally want the same thing - we all want to be happy. I don't believe we can make ourselves happy by making others miserable.   I ask everyone to do one thing to help improve someone else's day each day. Maybe little gestures like that could move mountains. Much love to you. 

Spring migration  

Heading back to the park after an awesome journey to visit friends and family, an amazing course in a healing modality called Zero Balancing  (www.zerobalancing.com), and a really nice recording sojourn in Austin Texas with David Lauterstein. We will have a new CD out at some point - this one is geared especially toward massage therapists. The idea is for it to be very soothing. If you have enjoyed my layered cello improvisations in Yellowstone, then you will probably like this CD, whether or not you are using it for massage therapy music. 

So who will I get to see in Yellowstone this summer?? Show hands!   I will be starting the new season with the opening of the Old Faithful Inn this friday, May 4th. Can't believe the opening of my 19th season is coming up so quickly!!!  I look forward to seeing you!  Much love. 

Mid break  

Greetings from the Northeast!

Hanging out with my folks for a bit after a really fun road trip visiting 3 National Parks and several friends. Winding up in an amazing community of Zero Balancers for a 4 day class (www.zerobalancing.com). 

Today I pulled out the computer and spent a couple hours on the phone with Dell Tech Support getting my headphone jack to respond once again. so that I could share this track with you.  It was an improvisation from March 2nd, 2018. I've decided to call it "Open Field".  Hope you enjoy it. 

Happy Winter! 

Here we are, halfway through our winter season in Yellowstone, and I am only writing to you now.  It has been a really fun winter over here so far. We have a great winter staff, and we are feeling fortunately not very affected by the government shutdown. Snow is falling,(could always use more) snow coaches are making their way to Old Faithful, and I am performing every night except for Mondays and Tuesdays. What else is there to say other than I hope you're on one of the approaching snow coaches.

Making up for lost time... a 5 page essay by Martha B 

    I just said goodbye to my quartet mates Tim and Colleen Tan and their girls after watching them play in the Big Sky Festival Orchestra.  I believe that every other year the Lake String Quartet has parted ways, it's been in a mix up of packing and moving and checking out and frantic departures... basically, a scattering. This year we lingered a little longer and I started pondering music and relationships and how each musical configuration is such a different beast.  
     I used to play in multiple groups -- jazz bands, rock bands,  chamber groups, orchestras.. accompanying singer songwriters. I recall being in 11 different bands at one time in NYC. it was crazy. it was a mad, frantic, social, schlepping, full throttle life style... It was too much at once -- I became involved on the surface, but everything was another gig and there were very few situations that I was really devoted to and willing to commit to, should it come to quitting the others for "the one".  
    Tonight I watched my dear friends play in the symphony, while making sure their 7 and 10 year olds didn't  disobey "classical music etiquette". as was so ingrained in me as a child.. I remember suffering through concerts that seemed to last for weeks.... just wanting to giggle and jump around and... get out.... but occasionally being really, REALLY, moved by some particular piece. I felt for my 7 year old friend next to me as she squirmed and tried to get comfortable and I reprimanded her for whispering to her sister.  I still clearly remember being in that very same boat.  
    At the same time, I was mesmerized by watching the orchestra, and realized that it's the first time I've actually just sat and listened and watched an orchestra in a very long time.  It's been a pretty good amount of time since I've played in one, but it is such a different beast than what I do now musically.  When you play in an orchestra, it's a game of follow the leader.. You need to do the same bowings and be on the same string as the principle.. you need to be with the conductor and be with the group. You are part of the machine... and it's a beautiful machine, and it's beautiful to be a part of it, but for the most part you give up yourself for the whole, yet you have to master your part or you screw up the whole.  When I started playing cello, I was immediately put into an orchestra, and I immediately became comfortable with it..  Later, as I studied more jazz and eclectic forms of music, I became estranged from the orchestra, and had to gradually become more comfortable with it as I got more calls to play.  Now I think it is one of the most challenging configurations to play in, which was affirmed to me by my friends as they commented on the strictness of being in a section after the freedom and expression of playing in the quartet. 
    But, back to the quartet.  I just finished my 11th season with the Lake String Quartet. We play a huge variety of music 5 nights a week for 4 hours a night.. We rehearse together.. We spend time with each other on our weekends.. There is no way to hide from any of these other 3 people..  We know what pushes each other's buttons.. We know each other's vulnerabilities and strengths.. We see the hurdles and the good days and the bad days with each other. We know when space is needed, we know when someone needs more attention than we are able to give, we know when a good ol hug is needed.  Our communication through music goes way beyond playing notes on a page; it brings up so much conscious, subconscious and unconscious communication that we are completely vulnerable to each other in a way that no other working environment brings about.. Not only do we feel this vulnerability (especially on our "off" days when notes may be a bit more difficult to find than other days, and focusing and being with the group is especially challenging, and we may feel subpar to the job we are supposed to be accomplishing.) but there is also a constant companionship and teamwork involved... If one of us gets off (not that that ever happens), we all need to help to bring the group back together .We always have each other's back -- it's part of the gig. It's a truly beautiful thing. As I reflect on this, I feel such a gratitude towards all of the Lake Quartet - past and present-- for providing such an amazing environment for growth, fun, and authentic expression and beauty and.... being myself. This 11th season has been the first time in my history that a member has changed..  I missed my sister in crime and my backpacking travel agent, Leanne Darling, who was always on board for improvised jazz solos, creating many of our most requested arrangements, and synchronized playing -(including mistakes - which neither of us ever made, but if we did, we somehow managed to make the same mistake at the same time).  Carl Larson has been truly a joy to work with and has kicked my butt in upping my playing game as his style is so very different than Leanne's. I guess it was his arrival that made me reflect on just how much I share and open up with these 3 other people, whether I want to or not -- it didn't really occur to me until I realized just how vulnerable I felt on my first "off"day (where I felt my playing to be off, not a day off)... and how I assumed that that he, as well as my long time musical companions, the Tans, was perfectly aware of every clam. I'm used to occasionally (maybe once or twice a season) screwing up in front of the Tans (and the sideways smirk I get from Tim).. that's no big deal... but this guy is a stranger... and darnit... he's a realllllly  good player!!! Total kick in the ego. Good medicine.  
   And now I begin phase 3 of my Yellowstone summer, where I take on the Old Faithful Inn solo once again. I now have total freedom in how and what I play, and all of my communication goes out to my audience, whether they know it or not.  A totally different beast than playing with the group and one that is almost just as enjoyable to me in very different ways. If you happen to be at the Inn while I'm playing, please stop and say hello. Thanks for being listening! 

Martha's latest CD is available at CDbaby.com and at Old Faithful and Lake gift shops in Yellowstone. Woohooo!

Martha's latest CD is available at CDbaby.com and at Old Faithful and Lake gift shops in Yellowstone. Woohooo!

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Interested in hosting a house concert?? 

Martha is available for house concerts or private events outside of the Yellowstone area between seasons -- March thru April, or October thru November. 

If you like to have parties, a house concert is simply a party that incorporates live music. It's fun and intimate, and you can pretty much set it up however you like.  A common scenario is to invite 20 or so friends over and request they donate to the musician -- usually $10 or $20. A lot of folks do a potluck kind of thing, while others really show off their culinary and hosting skills.  It's really up to you! If you are interested and would like more information, please send me an email.  Marthacolby.music@gmail.com