Johnson County's Crystal Gayle
"Before country was "cool, "Crystal was "class". Never has one reviewer captured a platinum clad, Grammy Award winning career so beautifully in so few words.
Crystal encapsulates everything the dazzling qualities of her name implies although that name came to her in quite an unusual fashion. "Crystal" came at the suggestion of Brenda Gayle Webb's older sister, Loretta Lynn who knowing there was already a "Brenda Lee" currently successful in the music industry suggested her younger sibling adopt the name "Crystal" when she began recording.
Once re-named, her musical boundaries have since been seemingly limitless as proven by her latest much anticipated project "All My Tomorrows" a mood influenced collection of American standards. Songs such as "Cry Me A River," "Sentimental Journey," "It Had To Be You," and "Smile" somehow reach the heights their songwriter's must have dreamed of when piped through the beautiful chords of Crystal Gayle. "These are songs any artist loves to sing," said Crystal in a recent interview. "They've endured to become timeless."
Strange to think of anyone as young and vibrant as the artist in question as a "timeless classic" herself but that indeed describes the course Crystal Gayle's career has taken.
Her earliest roots in country music led to what was at that time in the industry an unusual turn of events: Crystal's success wave engineered a seamless crossover to mainstream, blazing a trail that artists to follow, such as Shania Twain and Faith Hill, could only hope to equal in caliber and class.
In the mid "70's, Crystal was the focal point of her own one hour prime time special on CBS television a special that earned the glowing praise of viewers and critics alike. Chic, hip, and cool with a romantic mane of hair that swept around her ankles, in one evening of television Crystal Gayle moved country music to the highest platform it had yet reached in the eyes of the viewing and listening nation.
The blue eyed beauty from the Appalachian coal mining town of Paintsville, Kentucky would never again linger in the shadow of being Loretta's baby sister. Drop dead beautiful and dressed in designer threads, Crystal took country music to town on her arm in the "70's and introduced it to mainstream audiences.
The result was a career crossover that's still produces beautiful results such as those captured in the grooves of "All My Tomorrows."
But in the beginning Country, folk, pop, rock "n roll, Broadway show tunes, gospel all found equal place in her heart, growing up as the youngest of eight children. Like sister Loretta Crystal too was a "coal miners daughter" before she was a platinum selling singer and a worldclass entertainer.
While still in school, she signed her first recording contact. Her debut single, "I've Cried The Blue Right Out Of My Eyes," was written by Loretta (already a star) and reached the Top 20 on the national country music charts. Three more singles were released over the next three years all making an impact with radio and listeners.