The goal was simple: inspire Coller to write a song about the beauty of Mt. Tam and its West Peak for a video project that would have a large group of people sing an anthem to the mountain – a “Tamthem,” if you will. Yost and Coller had previously worked together on a video of Coller and a group of local musicians performing “Old Railroad Grade,” Coller’s bluegrass song about Mill Valley’s former “Crookedest Railroad in the World.”
Coller had long been enamored with Mt. Tam, having worked security for the Mountain Play for 15 years, an experience that had him “really develop a strong feeling for it.” But Yost’s tour of the West Peak gave Coller just the inspiration he needed.
“It pretty much wrote it itself – the mountain wrote it for me,” he says. “Gary showing me around gave me the feelings I needed to express what I wanted to say about the mountain.”
The result, “The Way It’s Supposed to Be,” is an anthemic ballad in the tradition of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, that laments, as Yost puts it, “how the Air Force moved in, blew the top off, used it for 30 years and then left without cleaning it up,” and the current movement toward restoring the West Peak.
With the perfect song in tow, Yost and Coller set out to rally a huge group of singers and friends and Mt. Tam lovers to perform the song on West Peak, gathering the legendary likes of Bob Weir, Maria Muldaur, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Susan Zelinsky, Lorin Rowan and more than 100 hundred others to do so.
With help from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the Marin Municipal Water District, Yost got permission to hold the event, and along with his filming partner Jamie Clay, also garnered the assistance of some of Marin’s top cinematographers to shoot the event, including master aerial cinematographer Phil Pastuhov (whose resume includes “The Matrix,” “Ghostbusters,” “Dr. Strange,” “Godzilla,” “Spider Man,” “The Bourne Legacy” and dozens of other Hollywood films), as well as stalwarts like Fabian Aguirre, Jamie LeJeune and Tyler Brown and renowned sound recordists Fred Runner and Shawn Doyle.
“That day was simply amazing – to be up there on that mountain with all those people – just incredible,” Coller says.
The result above speaks for itself!