To begin the evening at MAKESHIFT @ the Standard Talks, Rosanne Cash opened with a performance of “Fair and Tender Ladies,” a traditional Appalachian folk song that has been recorded by many singers. The song had been performed by her step-mother, June Carter Cash.

Rosanne began by sharing her thoughts on crafting and writing music. In turn, she asked the audience to collaborate and “craft” a new song from the original version. This posed the question: “What can we learn from the field of music as we creatively approach a collaboration between amateurs and auteurs, makers and users?”

Following are the original lyrics, as sung by Rosanne:

“Fair and Tender Ladies”

Come all you fair and tender ladies
Take warning how you court young men
They’re like a star on a summer morning
They first appear and then they’re gone

They’ll tell to you some loving story
And they make you think that they love you well
Then away they’ll go and court some other
And leave you there in grief to dwell

I wish I was on some tall mountain
Where the ivy rock is black as ink
I’d write a letter to my false true lover
Whose cheeks are like the morning pink

Oh, love is handsome, love is charming
And love is pretty while it’s new
but love grows cold, as love grows older
And fades away like morning dew

Each member of the audience rewrote a portion of the song’s four stanzas. A
selection was chosen for Rosanne to sing along with the audience at the end of
the discussion.

In the “crafted” version of “Fair and Tender Ladies,” the structure, melody, and
context were innovatively altered, creating a new song.

Following are the “crafted” lyrics, as sung together by Rosanne and the entire

“Fair and Tender Ladies”

Come all you strong and courageous ladies
Take note how you court your men
They’re like a firefly on a summer night
They first glow and then they’re gone

They’ll toss to you some fleeting story
And they hope you think that they know you well
Then again they’ll go and court some daydreams
And leave you there in peace to dwell

I wish I was on some tall moonbeam
Where the broken rock is black as night
I’d write a song to my false sweet lover
Whose kisses are like the distant pink

Oh, love is a feeling, love is a song
And love is an emotion while it’s new
But love grows high, as love grows tall
And falls away like sweet dew


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