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Keeping It Real with Callie Mackenzie

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 12/1/23 | 12/1/23

Callie Mackenzie with River Run Bed and Breakfast co-owner Ben Fenton looking on

By Robert Brune

FLEISCHMANNS —As winter approaches, nights in Fleischmanns have grown cool and quiet, but this past Saturday the warm tones of singer/songwriter Calli Mackenzie filled the rooms of River Run Bed and Breakfast. Owners Ben Fenton and Alex Breaux hosted a night of music with their friend Calli, a musician from Kingston, NY. Upon entering their charming, well-kept Victorian-style building on Main Street, Mackenzie’s voice beckoned from the front parlor where she sat with her acoustic guitar in the center of a cozy group of attendees. As the performance began, weekend guests emerged from their rooms, with a couple settling on a couch near the fireplace. This wasn’t the first time Callie had performed at River Run, and Ben and Alex knew the listeners were in for a treat.

Mackenzie’s self-described style of music is acoustic soul. Her performance for the evening began with ‘Inside a Dream’ which is a heartfelt song of reflections on a wide array of emotions, expressions of confidence mixed with moments of doubts by questioning herself, with the overriding tone of reaching towards acceptance and appreciation of everything she has in her life. Many of Mackenzie’s songs are drawn from her life as an activist and community organizer with Rise Up Kingston. Between songs, she provided a brief explanation for her lyrics. The song ‘Cool Kids Table,’ as she explained, is about the power struggles of infighting and challenging the status quo. In her new song ‘So Hard,’ Mackenzie walks us through the difficulties and necessities of having balance in a life of taking care of others and forgetting herself and caring for her sixteen-year-old daughter. Her way of describing her passions and relationships is very vivid, yet anyone can identify. The song ‘Honest’ that she performed is about the loss of a close friend and how, in this weak and vulnerable time of her life, she began smoking cigarettes after being off them for a long time. The self-reflection of the addiction of nicotine and what it was doing to her body brought out a reaction and short discussion with audience members. One person complimented her by saying, ‘Why is it your songs are so relatable?’ Mackenzie responded, ‘My music is just a guitar diary of my life.” With her song ‘Push’ it’s a topic of optimism and tenacity through difficult times. She spoke about how fast things can happen when people just ask for help.

In March of this year, Mackenzie made the courageous move of strictly focusing on writing, composing songs, and performing. She explained to the audience that there had been a great job opportunity that came up shortly after making this choice to stick with her music. As things turned out, Mackenzie didn’t get the new position. She simply accepted her fate happily and continued her current path as a musician. 

Toward the end of Mackenzie’s performance, Joe Devito, owner of the Print House, stepped out to visit River Run to see a few of her songs. He expressed gratitude to Callie Mackenzie for coming to Fleischmanns and complimented her on her performance. It was a nice gesture of community business owners supporting each other and the visiting artists of this small but growing village. 

Now, River Run gets ready for the ski season which brings visitors to Belleayre Ski Center at the nearby mountain. Hopefully, the owners of the River Run Bed and Breakfast can hold more of these events open to both their visitors and locals to enjoy. For more information see (and subscribe) to Callie Mackenzie’s YouTube channel that has a wide assortment of her music videos and live performances and

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