Who’s the mystery man of Texas country under the black hat and behind the dark sunglasses that brings the soul and spirit of country music’s past alive for a new era? It’s singer, songwriter and guitarist Mike Runnels.
Over the course of four albums of true C&W and rural Tex-Mex, the music created by the Austin-based Runnels recalls “the days when country music was at its purest,” hails Music News Nashville. He comes by his authenticity honestly, born and raised in the Golden Triangle of East Texas that has been ground zero for some of the finest country artists since George Jones emerged from the area’s piney woods to become a musical legend.
With his albums Top of the World, One More Time, Don’t Tell Candy and most recently Jukebox Boulevard on his Lucky Penny Records label, Runnels has earned critical acclaim and radio play across North America and Europe. In 2006, his single “It’s Up To You” was a Top 20 hit on the European Country Music radio chart, spending 20 weeks on the chart alongside some of the top acts in American and Europe.
As Nancy Montgomery of Music News Nashville notes, “Runnels takes us back to a time when country songs were stripped down to their bare essence and simply told the story of love lost, love found and love betrayed. No hidden messages, no political angst, no ‘cooler than thou’ showmanship. Just good and solid honky-tonk songs from a guy who has a knack of recreating the sounds and styles of such classic singers as Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Faron Young or Porter Wagoner.” And on his latest single release in early 2009, “Last Date,” Runnels pays tribute to piano legend Floyd Cramer on an original song that echoes the indelible instrumental standard of the same title that was a #2 pop hit for Cramer in 1960.