Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
The Twilight Hotel song, "Mahogany Veneer," is one of those songs that you'd choose to be buried with, if you had written it. You would sit your children down and you would ask them to remember one thing when you pass. Someone is to slip this song into your best suit coat pocket, right over your heart. We'd want it in there with us, keeping us company as the flowers placed with us started to rot and dry out. Whatever else happens, happens, but that five and a half minutes of music and words should be there for eternal company. Brandy Zdan and Dave Quanbury have written a number of songs that share fingerprints with "Mahogany Veneer," but it is an epic statement of human, animal and natural beauty that's beyond compare. It's a song that you can hear yourself think within its hallways. It's a song that buoys your soul as it seems to boil us down to the lovers and livers that we were and the lovers and livers that we spent our time with. It takes us into the snowdrifts that we stomped through after the biggest snowfall we ever experienced while we were alive. It takes us out and into the cold, nostril-burning cold temperatures that we braved to get to the chapel for our wedding, heading inside the doors of the church and feeling an overwhelmingly emotional blast of warmth and rightness. It takes us to our mistakes and makes them feel less so. It takes us to our happiest moments and makes them feel more so. It feels as if it's the best walk and the best conversation that we ever had with another person, wrapped into the verses and chorus. Quanbury sings about the northern lights, the forests and lakes full of fish who sound as if they might be all-knowing. More importantly, he follows a couple as they wind through the country, in and out of years, finding themselves, losing themselves and finding much to be awed by. It's as good as an epiphany, finding the back roads of our hearts and marveling at the beautiful pieces of ourselves that we keep there. We marvel at what others have inside them. We find that we can't handle the sheer beauty of the land as Quanbury and Zdan sing, "When we got to New York City/All our dreams were waiting there/Pennies in our pockets and sunshine in our hair/We stood out on the ferry/The wind was at our cheek/We scanned our new horizons/And the vastness made us weep/And we fell in love with Memphis/With its muddy, bleeding heart/Down on Union Street, they're taking rock and roll apart/The sun set on the Delta/The whistle of the train/And all the boarded buildings made me long for Winnipeg." At the end of the song, we sit in our own silence - the one we've known all our lives - stunned and something else. We think it's gratefulness. It might be peace. It's wonderful.