When publicist Kirt Webster came to Crystal Gayle and asked to feature her in the Country Music Hall of Fame, she was excited and surprised. “They came over to my office and told me what they wanted to do and I was like “Wow!” “So from that moment I started going through everything trying to find certain things.” Gayle never threw much away throughout her career, but who can blame her? She recalls going through boxes and thinking: “I kept all this?” But then I thought: “I did all this?!” Yes, you did Crystal – and we enjoyed watching you along your journey.
The flight suit and boots worn by Gayle on her Air 16 flight in 1984 featured in the Hall of Fame exhibit have a touching story. While Gayle was in Tampa working with Kenny Rogers, she met a little girl through Make-A-Wish. The little girl had two different wishes. She wanted to visit Disney World and she wanted to meet Crystal Gayle.
Gayle reflects, “she had a brain tumor and when I met her she couldn’t see. Her father was an F 16 trainer pilot and he got a pass to take me up. It was incredible because it happened to be on her birthday and she had passed away. So we went up and buzzed Disney World and sang Happy Birthday.” As Gayle told me the story, I could sense that it was a special moment for her. We both wish this remarkable story could have been embellished on the plaque.
Gayle was the youngest of eight in a talented musical family. All those older siblings to sing and play music with on the front porch must have been a dream come true for Gayle. “It was the entertainment that you would do instead of playing video games. When I was about four years old we moved from Kentucky to Indiana and everybody would get out on the porch and play guitar or the banjo,” says Gayle. Imagine what that must have been like.
Growing up as a coal miner’s daughter along with her sister Loretta Lynn, their nineteen-year age difference sometimes threw people off, and also brings us this humorous story. Gayle once did a TV interview on Burt Reynolds’ talk show. Tammy Wynette and Sara Evans [and JoDee Messina] were on the show and Reynolds went around to each of them asking what their fathers did. When he got to Gayle she responded by telling him her father was a coal miner. He looked at her with a confused look and then it registered: her sister was Loretta Lynn. Gayle says that she and Loretta speak differently too. She states, “I go back and I listen to interviews and think ‘I did have a little twang in there’. I started working with Alan Reynolds who was an English major and he told me ‘you don’t pronounce that word that way’. Coming from the hills of Kentucky we had our own language too. When I look back and think what my mom would say or do, some of those words came over from Ireland.”
Good news: Crystal Gayle is not done making music! She is currently working on a new album with her son Chris who has a Music Business and Engineering degree from Belmont. Gayle proudly muses: “he keeps saying ‘mom, I don’t know that much about this style…’ and I say ‘the music is all that matters.’ I’m not trying to replicate or do the old sound. Otherwise we’d go in one room and turn on the machine and go (record) because that’s what they did [early on]. Now I just want it to be how I would do it.”’ Gayle’s way has worked before and I can’t wait to see the new spin she is putting on this album.
“It’s fun. I’ve got a different, fresh outlook on one side (from son, Chris) and then what I bring in. So we’re mixing the two. I’m not doing this to an album with songs I grew up with, I’m just going to do what I would do.”
Be on the lookout for Gayle’s new album release late fall or early winter! And stay tuned to Sports & Entertainment Nashville for more on Crystal Gayle and many others who are still cranking out great music!