There’s a reason why Crystal Gayle calls her latest album You Don’t Know Me — and it’s not just because she covers Cindy Walker’s classic ballad of that name on her first collection of new recordings in 16 years.

“I want people to know this is the style of country music I love,” Crystal, 68, exclusively tells Closer Weekly of the record’s traditional Nashville tunes, which are a far cry from the polished “countrypolitan” pop that made her famous in the ’70s. “Music to me is healing. No matter what you want to label it, it’s special.”

She hopes You Don’t Know Me helps heal her sister Loretta Lynn, 87, who recorded her first collaboration with Crystal for the album before she suffered a stroke in 2017. Another of their family’s eight siblings, Peggy Sue Wright, 76, joined Crystal and Loretta for a trio version of the Dolly PartonPorter Wagoner hit “Put It Off Until Tomorrow.”

Crystal Gale Loretta Lynn
Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock (

“I’m so thrilled she wanted to sing with me on this album,” Crystal gushes of her older sister. “We had talked for years about doing it, and it just never really happened. We have so much fun when we get together.”

Loretta continues to recover and is making steady progress. “She’s done a little bit of traveling recently,” reports Crystal. “And she has a great family with her.

Crystal Gayle

Crystal has a great family of her own. She’s been wed to her high school sweetheart, Bill Gatzimos (now president of her company), for 48 years, and they have two kids: Catherine, 35, and Christos, 33 — their son coproduced You Don’t Know Me. “I wanted him to hear what real country music is,” she says.

As a loving parent, Crystal is carrying on a family tradition. “Our mom and dad were good people with good values,” she shares. “I look back, and I’m so thankful.”

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