Music star Crystal Gayle is coming to Rim Country in January. So, for Christmas, get tickets to the show at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino — bought before Jan. 19, the cost is $40 per person, after that, the price goes up to $50 per person.
Gayle is no stranger to Arizona — she toured with Glendale native and country music star Marty Robbins. Not only has she performed in the state, she told the Roundup in a phone interview she and her family have vacationed here.
Her Jan. 25 concert features many of her hits from a career that started in 1970 and has included 22 No. 1 hits, such as “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” “Talking In Your Sleep,” “Half the Way” and more.
Guests can also expect to hear works from Gayle’s new recording, “You Don’t Know Me,” which was released in September 2019 and is her first album in 15 years. It is also the first she has made devoted to classic country music made famous by George Jones, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens and Eddy Arnold.
“It started with my son Chris. I wanted to show him what songs I grew up listening to,” Gayle said. “It’s my history.”
Her son, Christos Gatzimos, produced the record with Gayle. “Chris did a great job engineering and mixing. He is so good technically and he is also very musical. The songs were definitely new to him, but he loved them,” she said.
Looking back over her career, Gayle said everyone she toured and worked with was wonderful, but some of her favorite memories are from working with Kenny Rogers and Lee Greenwood, plus Eddie Rabbitt, with whom she recorded another of her hits, “You and I.”
“Naturally I love working with my sisters,” Gayle said. She tours with her sister Peggy Sue Wright, who sings back up for her. Wright and their famous older sister, Loretta Lynn, join Gayle on the album for Dolly Parton’s “Put It Off Until Tomorrow.” This is the first recorded trio vocal performance by the three women.
Gayle said if she could have, there are several artists from the past she would have liked to work with. “Of course Elvis. And I would have liked to have worked with Billie Holiday. I enjoy all different styles of music. Music is healing. Just the sound can do so much.”
Some of today’s artists Gayle would like to work with include Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Chris Janson and Carly Pearce. “They’re all great singers doing great music,” she said.
Gayle said it amazes her at how different the music industry is today. “When I started big record companies controlled everything. Now you can go on YouTube and become a hit.”
While the industry is different, Gayle, if asked, would give aspiring music artists some traditional advice. “Sing everywhere you can. Write music, even if you don’t think you can. Get your face out there. Don’t change your style to meet someone else’s demands, be true to yourself. In Nashville today they want artists ready to go right out of the box.”
She said the best advice she was given came from her sister Loretta Lynn. “She told me to quit singing her songs. Don’t sing songs she’d sing. She said I was Middle of the Road, more pop. The weight of being compared to her would limit my chances at success.”
Gayle has shared her gifted voice most of her life. “Mom always said I could sing before I could walk,” she says in biographical material on her website, crystalgayle.com.
Building on that infant’s joy of singing was the inspiration from her sister, Loretta, 19 years Gayle’s senior. As a youngster she practiced the piano and guitar, was in school choirs, and later, as a teen, sang with a country band formed by her brothers, Junior, Herman and Don.
Sharing her success, Lynn provided an entry into the country music industry for several family members, including Gayle and sister Peggy Sue. Gayle, with Lynn’s help, in 1970 contracted with Decca to record “I’ve Cried the Blue Right Out of My Eyes,” which Lynn wrote.
Gayle left Decca Records three years later and signed with United Artists. It was with United Artists she paired with producer Allen Reynolds, who mentored her and was instrumental in the development of her distinctive voice and style, according to material on her website.
With Reynolds producing, her 1976 release of “I’ll Get Over You” became the first of her 22 No. 1 hits.
Over the years Gayle as an artist and her works have been honored with many awards and in January 2017 her sister, Loretta Lynn, inducted her as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
The Mazatzal Hotel & Casino performance by Crystal Gayle is open only to guests 21 and older. The show is Saturday, Jan. 25, doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at mazatzalcasino.com or at the cashier cage.