Her 1977 hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” might’ve been a ballad about heartbreak, but singing and music to Crystal Gayle has always simply been about coming together and having fun. Fans and music lovers have the opportunity to do just that with Gayle on Saturday at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center on the College of the Canyons campus. Her performance is set to begin at 8 p.m.
The legendary singer, now 71 years old, has won a Grammy, five Academy of Country Music awards, two Country Music Association awards, and three American Music awards during a career that’s spanned six decades. She’s also on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 greatest country artists of all time and Country Music Television’s list of the 40 greatest women of country music. Her hits include “Talking in Your Sleep,” “Half the Way” and “This One’s from the Heart” with Tom Waits from the 1981 film “One from the Heart.”
“In Kentucky where I was born, my brothers and sisters would sit on the porch and play a guitar,” Gayle told The Signal on Monday. “And then we moved to Indiana — where I grew up — and what was on the front porch went into the living room … We didn’t have video games and all the things they have nowadays to occupy the time.”
Gayle’s oldest sister would go on to make a name for herself, too. Loretta Lynn also became a household name.
But singing, Gayle said, was and still is, for her family, good for the soul. Country music in particular, she continued, is a genre that, despite some drinking songs, has such a family feel to it, with the power to bring family and close ones together.
“There were fairs and there were family parks that you go there for the country music,” Gayle said. “And you’d have picnics and things.”
To Gayle, singing generally has always been about community and having a good time. Any type of song could do the trick, too, she said. That might be why, she continued, she never got stuck in one genre of music from the beginning. During her career, she’s crossed over from country to folk to pop and to rock, and then back. Some critics have even called her one of the most successful crossover artists of the 1970s and ’80s. That’s because she just sang what made her feel good, she said.
“When I would record, I didn’t think I had to quit singing the types of songs that I grew up singing in school. I sang everything from folk, rock, pop, the blues — it was just singing the music. I’d sing country on weekends with my brother’s band and sing with my friend’s rock band. We were having fun.”
Some fans and critics want to put Gayle in a box. They often ask her what she calls her type of music. Gayle said she calls it “good music,” with a laugh.
“When you go out and have fun,” she added, “that’s really, to me, the most important part.”
Gayle will be playing some of her favorites, radio hits and new stuff, too, this Saturday. Her ultimate goal is to give to the audience what music has given her all these years.
“It’s really just to let people escape from what’s going on in the world,” she said.
For tickets to Saturday’s show, go to PAC.canyons.edu.