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. 

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! 

... And another request for transporter beams.... 

I believe posting  from a little over half way on my journey from CT back to the park in December is becoming an annual tradition.  Last year I was hemming and hawing about needing a bigger car. This year I have one. Yay!!! Still would be easier to just beam over, however...  December is always an interesting month to drive across country -- the weather being so completely unpredictable. I believe last year I found North Dakota to have a slight hint of winter --- it may have been just below freezing and a sliver of snow on the ground. This year I drove through  blizzardish white out conditions with wind chills well below zero. Glad I didn't opt to camp and it sure will be nice to get to my favorite hot springs in a couple of days! Happy Winter to you! May Yellowstone get lots and lots and lots and lots of SNOW!!!!

Back to the Faithful  

It's been so great to be back playing at the Old Faithful Inn. I do miss the quartet dearly, but I also love being able to plug in my cello and create music on the fly as well as playing covers, classics and originals. It's also wonderful to be reunited with my Old Faithful family. 

 We seem to be already deep into autumn in Yellowstone, with the possibility of snow (any precipitation would be welcome!!!), sun, clouds, fire, hail, rain... One of my favorite things about Yellowstone is the weather and how entirely unpredictable it is. In my 10 years here, I know never to assume it will be warm and sunny, no matter how warm and sunny it is at the time I prepare to go out. 

If I can get the internet to cooperate, I am adding a new track that I played on Sept 2nd in the Inn. This one I have titled;  "Boo's Party".  Boo is my manager and also happens to be a teddy bear. I believe he may have found his way into a liquor bottle or something from the sound of things. Hope you enjoy! 

Last week with the Quartet 

I am enjoying my last week in very smoky Lake Village.  The Lake Quartet's final performance will be on Thursday, August 11, from 6:15 pm until 10:pm.  I am sad to say goodbye to the group and hope I can remember how to play the piano for my return to Old Faithful on August 12th. Hope to see you!! Please bring some rain. 

March Madness 

I had a fabulous evening performing at  Ellen's and Donald's house outside of Denver, CO. I am not showing pictures of Ellen's spread (9 incredible homemade  desserts and matched champagne!! ) for fear of intimidating others who might be interested in hosting a house party. She is the closest encounter to Martha Stewart I have ever had! It was simply an amazing, fun party with a fantastic audience and some new friends. I am so grateful to Ellen and Don for hosting me! And I'm looking forward to returning to Denver in October..

I had 70ish degree weather for my whole drive from MT (I 80) to the east coast. Pretty unusual for early March! It was a great trip following a great season in Yellowstone. This year marked the end of an era in Yellowstone. It was the last winter for the fleet of Bombardier snow coaches - a prevalent part of winters in Yellowstone since the mid 1960's. They will be sorely missed by many of us in the park. 


Yellowstone Bombardiers crossing Swan Lake Flats

Here is a follow up video to the earlier post today – the last run for Xanterra Parks & Resorts fleet of Bombardier snowcoaches.

Posted by Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday, March 1, 2016


This week, March 20th, I am looking forward to playing a solo show at the Guilford Free Library in Guilford, CT.  If you're in the area, the information for the performance is at this link:  


or under the "shows" tab of this site. 


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