Love Me Southern by Bonnie Warren

Bonnie WarrenLove Me Southern

Review by Roy Elkins Broadjam

Songwriter Bonnie Warren

Bonnie Warren Songwriter

This is another great song from Bonnie Warren. She is one of the premier songwriters on Broadjam and a brilliant lyricist. If one wants to understand how to write a simple lyric that is effective, just listen to her song list. Love Me Southern was co-written with the vocalist on the song, Charlotte Sands.

The concept “Love Me Southern” is excellent, sellable and could find a home “as is” with the right artist. I love the opening line, “Guys in big cities with their fast cars, ya know they aren’t my type.” This really begins to set up the hook right out of the gate. It supports the rest of the lyric and establishes that the singer isn’t into wild or crazy guys, she’s wants a slow and relaxed relationship.

“We can lay here, all morning without any plans” is another great line that does a few things; 1.) It creates imagery 2.) It reinforces the “slowness” concept in the lyric 3.) It reinforces the “Love Me” part of the hook. This is songwriting at a high level.  It doesn’t hurt that the vocal nails this line.

I just love the feel of the guitar playing on this song. It’s a lazy strum that just pulls the listener right in. The part that he/she is playing is certainly not that difficult, but the way it’s played is engaging. The vocal naturally connects with the rhythm of the guitar on “Let’s take it slow like a midnight train.” If this was a different player, it’s possibly that the vocal timing would be altered as well and the entire song could suffer. Great work to the guitar player and singer as well. The song was produced by Chip Martin in Nashville.  I have never met Chip, but everything I have heard from him is as good as it gets. Kudos to everyone on this project.

Great feel, great voice. When I first heard the song, I didn’t think it was the right voice for the demo. But after listening several times, I have warmed up. She has a real Regina Spektor like phrasing to her delivery. She is “current”, has good pitch control and the more I listen, the more I like it.

The writers don’t have to change a thing with this. It is well done, pitchable and easily broadcast ready. However, part of the review process is to give my input. If this was my song and I was going to re-cut at some point in the future, this is where I would experiment. Please see below.

Bonnie Warren Songwriter

Bonnie Warren playing the acoustic guitar

“Let’s take it slow like a midnight train…….Love Me Southern” – I thought this was the set-up to the chorus, not necessarily the chorus. When I heard Love Me Southern the first time, I wasn’t sure if this was the chorus or if the song was going to jump back into a verse, then a big chorus later. I might try adding a bigger chorus or modifying the current structure slightly.

If I was going to keep the line, “Turn back around again”, I would add a few more syllables. It feels a little forced/stretched or it could just be the phrasing of the singer. Maybe re-phrasing would make it work a little better. “Steady rain” didn’t work in the chorus for me as well as it has only a slight meaning in the song. It is more of an adjective to the song, rather than a noun. If this was my song, I think I would have gone from “Georgia, Alabama, Baton Rouge and back again” or something to that effect. This would have left an opening for a different phrase instead of “Turn back around again.” Maybe “Love Me Southern” could have been repeated here or since the opening line was about the big city, maybe a reference to “No Northern hurry/speed/wrecks,” just Love Me Southern.” Obviously, these particular literal suggestions (hurry/speed/wrecks) don’t work, but I believe the concept of Northern vs. Southern could be very powerful if the right words were found.

I say all of this because I know one of the writers, Bonnie Warren, and she is one of the best lyricists on Broadjam. I also know that she loves feedback on her songs. It is clear that she works hard not to use “throw away” words. This song is ready as is, but if it was my song, I might tweak it around the hook. With that said, I feel like Tiger Woods golf coach on this, “you have a little hitch in your swing, but who cares, you still hit it a mile.”

Here is the link to the full band version of the same song.

Great work all around.

Note:  Like I do with all of my reviews, I sent it to the writer to review.  Bonnie had some awesome insights into some of my thoughts.  I will ask her to post them here.

Roy Elkins

Roy Elkins

Roy Elkins Broadjam

3 thoughts on “Love Me Southern by Bonnie Warren

  1. I really appreciated Roy’s validation and comments. It was clear that he truly took the time to analyze our work product. I happened to respond to some of his comments, and he asked me to post them here. They appear below.

    I thought it might be interesting for you to understand / see my logic as to why we did what we did within the song. These might already be apparent but I think my explanations speak to the deliberacy that some songwriters embrace in carefully choosing every word,phrase, and concept. I have been known to go back into a studio to fix even just a few words if I feel that a part of the lyric could simply be said in a better way.

    1. “Riding from Georgia to Alabama in a steady rain”
    Roy commented on this phrase. He thought it might be interesting to hear more city names mentioned, to fill the line and move it along. He also wasn’t particularly crazy about “steady rain”
    Why we did what we did: We intentionally didn’t crowd this line. We wanted it to “breathe”, and sound drawn out and sexy. Also, since rain/water is a symbol for sex in many film scenes, as is riding on a train, the purpose in using this phrase was to hit the listener with the concept of a long and steady, almost “rhythmic”, night of love making. (Think the rhythm of pouring rain, coupled with the rhythm of a long train ride).

    2. “Turn back around again”
    Roy commented that perhaps in this section, it might be better to set up the hook line here by saying something “northern related”, which would contrast with the phrase “love me southern” . I definitely see why he is suggesting this. It makes some sense and I will discuss it with my cowriter. We might try to adjust this line in some way to accommodate the concept.
    Why we did what we did: We wanted to create the image/impression that these lovers were not going to end the night so fast, but were going to turn right around and “do it all again”…. Yes, sexiness sells and we are hoping it works in the instance of this song.

    3. Speaking to the idea of rethinking portions of a song after it’s “done”, and going the extra mile to choose the right words, phrasing, music, etc. : Just last night I had an idea about making another version of this song — a male version. With just a few minor tweaks to the lyrics, and to the title — making it “Love YOU Southern” (as opposed to “Love ME Southern”), this could potentially allow the song to have more commercial opportunities, especially given the preponderance of male country stars on the charts today. As Kenny Rogers once said when asked what makes his songs hits, he answered (paraphrased here): “If I can SING to a woman what she wants to hear her man SAY, then I’ve done my job, because she will want to hear me sing it over and over again!”

    I have a friend in Nashville (Kenny Angel) who says something that I try to remember every time I write a song. He says songs are like chickens – you can fry them, bake them, grill them up, serve them hot or cold, and so on. In making this second version of this song, we’re just going to cook it up a little differently and see what happens. Sooner or later, it’s our hope that someone in the right place at the right time, will really like one of our “recipes”.

    Thank you for listening, to the song and to these comments. And “write on”!

  2. Bonnie, Thanks for this. I appreciate the effort and time you put into writing songs. Your thought process is clearly logical and makes a lot of sense. Reading your response to my analysis is educational. Thanks for the song and your response as well. This is truly a great song that deserves success. Best of luck, Roy

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