Gayle’s iconic hair now down to her ankles as she performs for hundreds of fans, Meira Bienstock

OXFORD — Rain has a way of spoiling people’s plans, especially picnics, festivals and fairs.

But for true country music fans, it takes much more than Saturday showers to deter them from seeing one of their favorite performers.

On the fourth and final day of the Oxford County Fair, many — including some from other states — were determined to make their way to the fairgrounds to see Crystal Gayle — and her legendary locks.

As Gayle lifted the microphone above her, tilting her head back and sending her long, black hair closer to the ground, many in the crowd noticed it stopped at her ankles.

“Did you cut your hair?” yelled an audience member.

Without missing a beat, Gayle confirmed the trim, noting her hair “got caught a lot, by Velcro.” The audience responded with laughter.

Dressed in black leather boots and a studded black dress that highlighted her silver necklace, earrings and barrette, Gayle glittered on stage as the purple lights shone on her.

“Wrong Road Again” had the audience singing along as Gayle opened her arms toward the sky before swishing her hair.

As she moved onto the next song, it was clear the band had not kept up. Ever the professional performer, Gayle was hardly bothered.

“His paper was wet,” she said with laughter, referring to the band’s set list dampened by the rain. “Are you ready now?”

The band picked up as if never interrupted and Gayle delivered rich notes.

The crowd went wild when Gayle sang “Talking in Your Sleep.” It appeared Gayle was singing to each audience member, her arms outspread, the lights dancing off the pearls on her dress. The audience began singing back to her.

Blue Jay Petter, her saxophone player who initially opened the show, then explained the band had played its next song in Washington, D.C., for the president. He then paused before adding that Gayle had performed for the president … of the dairy workers.

Petter and Gayle went on to play a jazzy tune he had composed, a Broadway-Chicago jazz number that had the audience bouncing to the beat.

When Gayle introduced her band to the audience, she gave an introduction to each one: Scott on guitar, who danced on stage; Rob Price, who sang a “Welshish” song; Miles Thompson on the fiddle, who can be found on YouTube; Steve Willis, who played the piano; and then Peggy Sue, her sister, who did a duet with her.

Gayle asked how many in the audience did not know Peggy was her sister. A few raised their hands. Peggy laughed and said she did not know either.

Peggy Sue wasted no time telling the audience a story about how her husband never helps out around the house.

When she asked him to fix the dishwasher, he said, “What do I look like, a repairman?”

She asked him to fix the car, to which he replied, “What do I look like, an auto mechanic?”

When he came home later, Peggy Sue said she told him she had asked their neighbor to fix everything, and he did it all. When her husband asked how much it cost, she said the neighbor “wanted a cake or some lovin’.”

Her husband asked, “Well, what kind of cake did you bake?” She replied, “What do I look like, Betty Crocker?”

The audience burst into laughter.

For a moment, it was simply two sisters on stage, laughing, joking and singing a song by their other sister, Loretta Lynn. It gave the audience a glimpse into a music family. Then, as the purple lights again shone down onto Gayle and the band, they stood in a line and continued delivering for fans in Oxford who were clearly appreciative.

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