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Crystal Clear

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Country singer Crystal Gayle performed to a sold-out crowd Friday night in Thunder Valley Casino’s Pano Hall. The audience was a mixture of old and older. Suffice it to say there were a few wheelchairs in the house, but this was a more sophisticated crowd with several people arriving in the snazzy electric versions.

All joking aside, it was clear that everyone in attendance had been following Crystal Gayle throughout her 40-plus-year career. Luis and Janet Gutierrez, who came all the way from Vallejo to see Gayle perform, were extremely pleased with the show. Their only complaint was that they wished she had played more of her original songs.

In addition to her hits below, Gayle also performed a number of Buck Owens hits and a song made famous by Dean Martin, “Miracles Are Made of This.”

“When You’re Smiling”
“Love To, Can’t Do”
“Why Have You Left the One”
“Just You and I” (originally performed with Eddie Rabbit)
“Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue”

The Gutierrezes almost didn’t get tickets ahead of time, thinking they could purchase tickets once they arrived at Thunder Valley. Little did they know that the older crowd likes to plan ahead, and the concert was already sold out. They were lucky enough to snag a couple of tickets due to a few no-shows and even landed in the front row.

Gayle performed with her sister, Peggy Sue Wright (backup and lead singer), Jay Patton (saxophone and vocals), John Kearns (lead guitar and vocals), Will Barrow (piano and vocals), Rob Price (bass), and Duane Norman (drums).

Gayle is best known for her song “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” and her floor-length hair. Both were present Friday night. She appeared in a black sequin dress and leather-studded belt. Completing the ensemble was her famous long black hair that draped all the way to her ankles.

Gayle was born Brenda Gail Webb and later changed her name at the suggestion of her sister, Loretta Lynn. Lynn was already on the road to stardom during Gayle’s early years. It’s said that the idea of Crystal’s name came from the chain of Krystal hamburger restaurants that started in Chattanooga, Tenn. (you can’t get any more country than that).

Just before the end of the concert, Gayle performed a gospel medley and thanked the audience. The majority of the crowd started to get up and leave before she announced that she would stick around for one last song, which was “When I Dream.” I guess she didn’t realize that most of the folks had to head home to take their fiber and get to bed.


Randy Miramontez is a Contributing Writer and Photographer with Sacramento Press

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