You know those coffee commercials or the latest one about lotion where the people getting ready in the morning are just jumping into their clothes, and are happy to start their day. Sometimes the montage shows them skipping in the streets and greeting neighbors and strangers. Some of these commercials have the nerve to be set in New York. It is probably part of the false advertising that makes mid-westerners move here. I love New York. I love getting out of bed every morning to get paid to do what I love, but my mornings never look like that. My mornings consist of tripping over my cat, never having enough time for breakfast, and trying not to use my reflexes from my martial arts training when people elbow me on the subway.


The day that I got a preview of trombonist, Matthew Hartnett’s soon to be released album, “Southern Comfort” I finally got what those people in the commercials were dancing about. After ceremoniously rolling out of bed, I hit play on the track New Sun Light Lake Charles and all of a sudden I was fully dressed, and wiggling over to my stove wondering if I should try to make grits for the first time ever.  When I stepped outside the sun felt warmer, the late trains felt right on time, and I could have sworn that the scowls I usually see on the faces of my fellow commuters looked like slight grins, and the side-eyes looked like winks.

My favorite part about instrumental music is that you can add your own narrative while listening to the tunes. As a writer, I have a constant narrative in my head. Sometimes it’s a story, sometimes it’s a voiceover of my actions in real-time. While listening to the track Pump and Drive and   maneuvering through NYC sidewalks, my voiceover was “Simone is a badass. Simone is a badass with a killer band walking behind her in the streets. Simone is the queen of her own badass parade.” Surrounded by the grit of New York and the cold creeping through my outerwear, the sound of the trombone and upbeat percussions made me feel like I crossing into the warmest town below the Mason Dixon line as opposed to 7th avenue.
The tracks stick to your bones the way southern food does and bathes you in the welcoming hospitality that is a rumored trait of the South, living up to the name Southern Comfort. Hartnett has been all over the world spreading joy with his trombone, this week he’ll be New York. Get a little southern comfort for free at the live show this Thursday at Arlene’s Grocery.

matthew hartnett Arlene's grocery

Get to know more about Matthew Hartnett here.