b. 1960, USA. Heckel began singing as a child with her family group, the Heckels, in Elkin, West Virginia. In 1977, while still in her mid-teens, Heckel married Johnny Russell (b. 23 January 1940, Sunflower County, Mississippi, USA, d. 3 July 2001, Nashville, Tennessee, USA), composer of oft-recorded ‘Act Naturally’. The following year, she had a moderate chart success with ‘Bluer Than Blue’. Heckel and Russell became a popular duo, touring extensively in the USA, with artists such as Loretta Lynn, and also making overseas tours. In 1979 and again the following year, Heckel appeared at Jamboree In The Hills, the four-day festival of country music held at Morristown, Ohio. In addition to her appearances with Russell, Heckel also occasionally sang in a duo with her sister, Susie Heckel. Another of Russell’s songs, ‘Got No Reason Now For Goin’ Home’, was written in the aftermath of the couple’s divorce in the mid-80s. Heckel then married Kenny Sexton with whom she has continued to perform southern gospel songs with a country flavour. Together with their daughter, Jamalyn, they perform as the Sexton Trio.
Share this page