Crystal Gayle Joins with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for a Reimagined Version of'Sentimental Journey' (Exclusive)

The song reminds Gayle of her Kentucky upbringing, as her and sister Loretta Lynn's mother would often play big band music in their home

Not a day goes by that Crystal Gayle doesn’t think of Loretta Lynn, especially as Lynn’s granddaughter Emmy Russell finds herself competing on American Idol.

“Loretta had said it all through the years that Emmy is great,” Gayle, 73, tells PEOPLE in a recent interview about her legendary sister, who died in October 2022. "She would be looking down saying, ‘I know that she's doing good. Emmy is a very sweet girl. I'm so happy for her."

Happy is an emotion that Gayle takes with her throughout life these days, as the “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” hitmaker continues to make music that personally warms her heart, including her new take on the classic song “Sentimental Journey” with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

“I have always loved that [swing band] style of music,” says Gayle of her love for the music of yesteryear. “I've played with the Air Force Bands and the Navy Band singing these sorts of songs. I do have ‘Sentimental Journey’ and other songs of that style on my All My Tomorrows album. I just love it.”

Certainly, “Sentimental Journey” is a song that reminds Gayle of her Kentucky upbringing, as her and Lynn’s mom would often play big band music in their home. “So many memories come to my mind,” remembers Gayle. “I think of my mother listening to it on the radio.”

<p>Jason Kempin/Getty</p> Crystal Gayle in Nashville in August 2019

Jason Kempin/Getty

Crystal Gayle in Nashville in August 2019

Related: Inside Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle's Sisterly Bond: We'd 'Have Our Words' Then 'We'd Laugh'

Premiering exclusively on PEOPLE, Gayle’s new version of “Sentimental Journey” will soon live on the upcoming album 80th Anniversary of The Army Air Force Band Newly Recorded with Strings by The Glenn Miller Orchestra, a newly recorded album set for release on April 5.

The lyrics of “Sentimental Journey” also touch Gayle’s heart, as their simple nature seems to feel so very good in such a very loud world. “These songs say so much and so little in all the ways,” explains Gayle. “They have so much feeling. I hope people listen to it and take away a lot of good things."

It’s a personal achievement for Gayle also, as the mere chance to sing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra is an honor in itself, while also giving the acclaimed vocalist another style of music to sing within.

“I grew up singing all different styles of music,” says Gayle, whose very own band leader “Blue” Jay Patton worked as a lead vocalist and guitarist for the Glenn Miller Orchestra. “I'd sing with my brother's country band on the weekends, and I'd sing with my friend’s rock band, and I would be singing on the swing groups. Of course, country music is definitely my forte and I love it. Really, I just love to sing.”

Related: Crystal Gayle Reveals She's Wanted to Cut Her Long Hair: Some Days 'I Just Want to Take the Scissors'

<p>Courtesy of Crystal Gayle and Glenn Miller Estate</p> Crystal Gayle with the Glenn Miller Orchestra

Courtesy of Crystal Gayle and Glenn Miller Estate

Crystal Gayle with the Glenn Miller Orchestra

Gayle also loves her family and was able to include her son Chris Gatzimos on the recording of “Sentimental Journey. “He did all the engineering for me and put my voice down,” says Gayle of the recording process that took place in her home office on Music Row in Nashville.

And yes, she does have a little grievance about Music Row.

“It's not Music Row anymore,” she remarks with conviction. “There are too many condos and apartments buildings! Nashville is being transformed into something I wish it wasn’t.”

But while the world changes, Gayle focuses in on the good.

“The world needs so much love,” says Gayle. “I've always said that music heals. So, if we can just put it out there with this music, we can put the love out there. I don't know what they've been teaching in school, but I hope they get back to teaching love.”

Gayle believes some of that love comes via artists like Taylor Swift. “Music can travel all over,” she says. “Taylor is performing all over the world. Her music brings this warmth and this comfort. I mean, I love her. So, she is out there doing her part and bringing that love.”

Related: Country Pop Queen Crystal Gayle Returns to Her Roots: Traditional Music 'Is in My Soul'

This year, Gayle will bring the love while out on her headlining tour.

“Music heals, but it also brings people together,” she says. “When I go to certain places that I've been to for years, I know there's going to be people there that have been with me from the beginning, and that's real special. And that's why I've been out there and I still work. That's why you continue doing what you love.”

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