Review: Mike Runnels - Jukebox Boulevard

He has the mysterious persona of Roy Orbison, a voice reminiscent of Hank Williams mixed with a little Billy Joe Shaver and music that is old-time, classic country. His name is Mike Runnels, and he's not out reinvent the wheel. You see, Mike Runnels' goal on "Jukebox Boulevard" is to showcase traditional country music. By the way, he's good at it.

When you first listen to Mike Runnels, one word comes to mind: purity. His pure heart, pure emotion (as evidenced by his brilliant lyrics) and his pure, unadulterated love of his craft. With today's country music being inundated with "country pop" and bubble-gum lyrics, the traditional styling provided by "Jukebox Boulevard" is a breath of fresh air.

On "Jukebox Boulevard," Runnels'  provides a wonderful tapestry of old-fashioned country aimed at country purists who love George Jones and Merle Haggard. One of the best songs on the album is "Just Kiss Me Again" which is performed perfectly and has a memorable melody and outstanding lyrics. But it is the surprisingly straightforward break-up song "Tonight's Our Last Night" that is the best track on the album. Runnels sings: "Tonight's our last night, I'll be gone in the morning."

Raised in Beaumont, Texas, Mike Runnels encourages listeners to sit back, think about the old days and reminisce about life and love. Indeed, love is a constant theme in Runnels' music. The first two songs, "Too Good To Be True" and "Come Home Darling" actually deal with heartbreak in a refreshingly straightforward way.

Mike Runnels writes and performs music on "Jukebox Boulevard" that is meant to remind us of country music's rich heritage that has too often been pushed aside by radio programmers in recent years. This album is a major accomplishment that should be warmly embraced and appreciated by any fan of traditional country music.