The Mackenzies

Album: Gold Record (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • Here, Bill Callahan recounts a story of his car breaking down outside his own house and the neighbor coming to his aid. Not only do Jack and Brenda Mackenzie get their friend Koji who "can fix anything" to help, but they invite him into their home.

    Callahan told Uncut magazine he based The Mackenzies on an actual couple he encountered in 1990. "I bought my first car - a Dodge mini-van - from a mechanic," he recalled. "I had to go to his house in a little town somewhere and see him and his wife. I spent 45 minutes or an hour there - however long it takes to check out a new car and sort the paperwork - and to celebrate the first day of the car they made me cocktails in their house. I just love meeting those kind of people. I don't think I'm really like that. I would love to be."
  • During the song, Callahan admits that he hadn't met the kindly couple before his car broke down, as he's "the type of guy who sees a neighbor outside and stays inside and hides." This is an accurate portrait of himself some years ago, he told The Independent. But becoming a father in 2015 broke that. "It changed my whole perspective on what a neighbor is and what a community is, and now it's the opposite," he added. "If I see a neighbor outside then I go out there to talk to them."
  • Callahan recorded the track for a set of songs garnered from various ideas he had lying around that he hadn't been able to find a home for. While the singer's other albums normally have a single concept running through them, Gold Record is a collection of detailed self-contained worlds and character studies.

    "I have a natural inclination to try to make a narrative out of a whole record," he told Apple Music. "But this time, it's really just a bunch of songs that stand on their own, not really connected to the others. That's why I called it Gold Record - it's kind of like a greatest hits record, though singles record is maybe more accurate."

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