Home #Hwoodtimes A Conversation with Country Music Singer/Songwriter, Actress, TV Show Host Crystal Gayle

A Conversation with Country Music Singer/Songwriter, Actress, TV Show Host Crystal Gayle

By: Judy Shields

Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 02/06/2023

Crystal Gayle is coming to Agua Caliente Casino Resort and Spa with Johnny Lee in Rancho Mirage, CA on Friday, February 17th.  It’s a great time to get away to the desert the for the 3-day President Holiday weekend, so book a room and enjoy the concert, casino and spa!

Tickets: https://www.bandsintown.com/v/10008125-agua-caliente-casino-resort-and-spa?came_from=242&utm_medium=web&utm_source=artist_event_page&utm_campaign=venue

She will also be out in Laughlin, NV at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort & Casino, which is great place to be out by the Colorado River!

Here is her tour schedule: https://crystalgayle.com/tour

Multi-Million-selling singer Crystal Gayle has performed songs from a wide variety of genres during her award-studded career, but she has never devoted an album to classic country music. Until now.

The Hollywood Times had the honor to speak with Crystal Gayle about her upcoming concert in Rancho Mirage, becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry and what’s she has been up to.  Looking forward to seeing her live at Agua Caliente Casino Resort and Spa in a couple of weeks.

Enjoy our phone conversation:

“You Don’t Know Me” is a collection that finds the acclaimed stylist exploring the songs of such country legends as George Jones, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens and Eddy Arnold.  The album might come as a surprise to those who associate Crystal with an uptown sound that made her a star on both country and adult-contemporary  op charts. But she has known this repertoire of hardcore country standards all her life.

“This wasn’t a stretch at all,” says Crystal. “These are songs I grew up singing. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.
“The songs on this album aren’t songs I sing in my concerts until recently. But they are very much a part of my history.” Each of the selections was chosen because it played a role in her musical development. Two of them point to the importance that her family had in bringing her to fame.  “You Don’t Know Me” contains the first recorded trio vocal performance by Crystal with her singing sisters Loretta Lynn and Peggy Sue. It is their version of Dolly Parton’s “Put It Off Until Tomorrow.”

“You Never Were Mine” comes from the pen of her older brother, Jay Lee Webb (1937-1996). The two were always close. Jay Lee was the oldest brother still living with the family when their
father passed away. And when Crystal first moved to Nashville she lived with Jay Lee.


Track 1 – “Ribbon of Darkness” (Gordon Lightfoot) Marty Robbins 1965, Gordon Lightfoot 1966, Connie Smith 1969 – This was the first song I ever sang on the Grand Ole Opry. I was 16. Loretta was sick. Mooney [Lynn] did something, I don’t know what. But they let me sing in her place. In my early years in Nashville, when I was on Decca, I opened for Marty Robbins. So I’ve heard him sing this many times. Connie Smith also had a hit with it. So the night I was inducted into the Opry cast in 2017, I asked Connie if it was okay with her that I sing “Ribbon of Darkness.” It was such an honor she was there that night.

Track 2 – “You Win Again” (Hank Williams) Hank Williams 1952, Jerry Lee Lewis 1958, Fats Domino 1962, Charley Pride 1980 – I have always sung this. We all did. In fact, whenever Loretta and I and Peggy would get together, that’s one of the songs we would sing as a trio.

Track 3 – “Please Help Me I’m Falling” (Don Robertson/Hal Blair) Hank Locklin 1960,  Rusty Draper 1960, Janie Fricke 1978 – I’d sing that at the top of my lungs in the back yard when I was in grade school. Then later, this was a song I would sing with my older brother’s band.

Track 4 – “Am I That Easy to Forget” (Carl Belew/W.S. Stevenson) Carl Belew 1959, Skeeter Davis 1960, Debbie Reynolds 1960, Englebert Humperdinck 1968, Jim Reeves 1973 –  Jim Reeves was so incredible. He’s the one I associate with this song. I have great memories being backstage at the Ryman and hearing Jim Reeves Sing. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

Track 5 – “Hello Walls” (Willie Nelson) Faron Young 1963 – When I was young, I didn’t realize Willie Nelson had written this. I opened shows on a tour with Faron Young, and he always looked out for me. He was so kind. Faron had so many great hits, including this classic. I worked with him right before we moved to Nashville. My big brother, Jay Lee, put us up while we looked for a place to live.

Track 6 – “You Never Were Mine” (Jay Lee Webb) Jay Lee Webb 1967 – My brother was such a good writer. I was around when he wrote this, and his version of it is so good. I should’ve recorded it years ago. He was also a great entertainer, very funny and great at jokes.

Track 7 – “Just One More” (George Jones) George Jones 1956 –  I’ve known this forever. This is a song that [Loretta’s husband] Mooney [Lynn] always had me sing, wherever we were. So many times, I’ve had to sing it a cappella. I realize that the last thing people expect me to sing is a George Jones drinking song, but it is so much a part of my real history.

Track 8 – “There Goes My Everything” (Dallas Frazier) Jack Greene 1967, Englebert Humperdinck 1967, Elvis Presley 1971 – I worked with Jack Greene, opened for him when I was starting out and he was a big star. I knew the song, but of course I couldn’t sing it when he was on the same show. Even though this was when I was singing everybody else’s hits, I wouldn’t sing this one. I feel so honored to have worked with some of these older artists –Grandpa Jones, Tex Ritter, Stringbean, Johnny Cash, Billy “Crash” Craddock, Marty Robbins, Conway Twitty, Jack Greene and all of them.

Track 9 – “That’s the Way Love Goes” (Lefty Frizzell/Sanger D. Shafer) Lefty Frizzell 1973, Johnny Rodriguez 1974, Merle Haggard 1984 – This has been sung by many people, but the version I knew was by Johnny Rodriguez. I worked with him, and he was so cute. It was his hit single during the time I worked with him. Even now, I can still hear him singing this. It is such a wonderful song — I love the melody.

Track 10 – “Crying Time” (Buck Owens) Buck Owens 1965, Ray Charles 1966, Lorrie Morgan 1993 – I do a medley of Buck Owens songs in my shows. When I was a kid, he worked Buck Lake Ranch in Indiana. I would go whenever he was playing there, and he’d let me sing on his show. When I was 16, he wanted me to become a regular on his TV show. He asked me, but it didn’t work out.

Track 11 – “I’ve Seen That Look on Me a Thousand Times” (Harlan Howard/Shirl Melete) Jim Ed Brown 1968, Willie Nelson 1970, George Strait 1985 – George Strait had it on an album, and I’d heard Harlan Howard’s version. The lyric is not something that a girl would necessarily sing. But I loved what it was saying. And nowadays, why not?

Track 12 – “Walkin’ After Midnight” (Alan Block/Don Hecht) Patsy Cline 1957, Loretta Lynn 1977 – This is a song I have loved singing all my life. Early in my career, I recorded it, but never put it out. 13. “You Don’t Know Me” (Eddy Arnold/Cindy Walker) Eddy Arnold 1956 Jerry Vale 1956 Lenny Welch 1960 Ray Charles 1962 Cindy Walker 1964 Elvis Presley 1967 Mickey Gilley 1981 Eddy Arnold had the first big record on it. Again, it’s usually been men singing the song. But I listened to Cindy Walker’s version of it, and she had the female lyric. I always loved Eddy. He was a gentleman. He was “old school.” He was such a classy guy. Now his grandson, Shannon Pollard, is in the Nashville record business.

Track 13 – “Put It Off Until Tomorrow” (Bill Owens/Dolly Parton) Bill Phillips 1966, Dolly Parton 1967, The Kendalls 1980 –  This is the one and only trio performance on record, with Loretta and Peggy Sue and me. We’ve done the Boston Pops together. We performed together in Lake Tahoe and Reno and a few things like that. But we’ve never actually made a record together. Peggy Sue still comes out on www.crystalgayle.com Follow on all socials @thecrystalgayle the road with me, singing backup harmonies. I recorded the track. Then Patsy, Loretta’s daughter, asked her to sing on my album. Loretta is such an incredible singer. She got through the song right away and then said, “What’s next?” We should have recorded the whole album together. Loretta had her stroke not long after we recorded this.

Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn and Peggy Sue


Most Promising Female Vocalist – Academy of Country Music

Country Music’s Female Vocalist of the Year:  Academy of Country Music – three times; Country Music Association – two times and  American Music Awards – three times

Grammy for “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”

Favorite Female Country Video Artist – American Music Awards

Most Played Country Artist on jukeboxes

Recorded 22 number one country singles, 34 top ten singles

Honored with a star (2,390th Star awarded) on the fabled Hollywood Walk of Fame – ceremony on October 2, 2009

Inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in January 2017 by sister Loretta Lynn at the Ryman Auditorium

Crystal Gayle (Photo 2911 Media)

Recipient of the Academy of Country Music 2016 Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award which honors individuals who are pioneers in country music

Honored with a Spotlight Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame – opened May 2, 2014 through November 3, 2014

Honored in October, 1999, when “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” (composed by Richard Leigh) was recognized by ASCAP as one of the top ten most performed country songs of the century

“Talking In Your Sleep” was honored as BMI’s most played country song in 1978

Recorded 4 top twenty pop singles: “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” “Talking In Your Sleep,” “Half the Way” and “You and I” (duet with Eddie Rabbit)

Recorded 25 albums: 3 platinum and 5 gold in the United States

The first female country artist to achieve platinum album sales (We Must Believe In Magic) 1977

Most Performed Country Female Artist on radio for the ten years from 1975-1985

First female country artist to preform in China (“Bob Hope on the Road to China” – 1979)

On November 3, 2019 she performed at the 53rd Annual CMA awards show. The opening melody to pay tribute to the women in country music

During Covid she jammed with Charlie Daniels via Zoom

Appeared on “Sesame Street”

Appeared on “The Muppets”

Hosted 2 CBS TV specials – “The Crystal Gayle Special” (1979) and “Crystal” (1980)

Hosted a holiday TV special – “A Crystal Christmas in Sweden” featuring David Hasselhoff, John Davidson, and world champion skaters Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner

Hosted a TV special – “Crystal Gayle’s Vacation in Finland” featuring John Davidson and Gloria Loring

Crystal Gayle (Photo 2911 Media)

Born Brenda Gail Webb in Paintsville, Kentucky, Crystal was raised in Wabash, Indiana. She is the baby of eight children. Loretta is 19 years her senior.  The sisters’ coal-miner father died from complications of black-lung disease when Crystal was 8 years old. The traumatized child retreated inward, becoming painfully timid and withdrawn. Her shyness vanished when she sang, however, and this is another reason why the music of “You Don’t Know Me” is so special to her. When she was a teenager, brothers Junior, Herman and Don began featuring Crystal singing classic country songs in their honky-tonk bands. This was a big help in bringing her out of her shell.


Follow on all socials @thecrystalgayle

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecrystalgayle/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecrystalgayle/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/TheCrystalGayle?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7f5gKyhzSDGzm6UhkE7wNw

About Crystal Gayle:

Crystal Gayle in blue (Photo 2911 Media)

Grammy®-winning songstress Crystal Gayle is an award-winning country music icon whose reign in the music business includes 20 No. 1 country hits, six albums certified Gold by the RIAA and the first female artist in country music history to reach platinum sales with her 1977 album, We Must Believe in Magic. Her list of platinum and gold was to be matched only by her awards and accolades. CMA’s “Female Vocalist of the Year,” for two consecutive years, she became a Grammy® Award Winner for “Best Female Vocal Performance,” thanks to her beloved “Brown Eyes” – a song that she today admits she has never grown tired of singing. Crystal swept the Academy of Country Music Awards for three of their “Top Female Vocalist” statuettes. She is the recipient of three “American Music Awards,” voted by the nation as America’s “Favorite Female Artist.” Perhaps nothing sums up Crystal’s career achievements as well as being awarded with a star on the fabled Hollywood Walk of Fame in October 2009. Also famous for her nearly floor-length hair, she was voted one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world by People Magazine in 1983. Gayle also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame near Lynn’s star. In August 2016, the Academy of Country Music honored Crystal with the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award during the 10th Annual ACM Honors. Gayle was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in January 2017 by her sister and Opry legend Loretta Lynn. For more information, visit crystalgayle.com.