Kansas-based singer and songwriter Logan Mize has become a firm favourite amongst country fans in the United Kingdom following appearances at C2C Country 2 Country, The Long Road Festival and Nashville Meets London in recent years in addition to extensively touring his own shows to make trips across the pond a regular occurrence. Due to his heavy touring schedule, Mize had not released an extended project of music since his Billboard Top 20 album ‘Come Back Road’ in 2017 but now he has returned with it’s long awaited follow up ‘Come Back Road’ which is out now through Big Yellow Dog Music which you can listen to HERE. Jamie recently caught up with Logan to chat about the record and how the last twelve months under the current global circumstances have been going. It’s odd! There’s definitely been an element to it that I like, I enjoy being home and being able to be with the kids but there are definitely days when I think it would be great to get up and go see the band, play a show and see some people that are excited to be there who are happy that you are playing live music. I missed that for sure.
Recently, Logan released his first extended project since 2017 with his new album “Still That Kid” that has obviously been released during unfamiliar circumstances but did the global situation significantly affect the creative and recording process for this project? A lot of it was done before the shutdown. I probably did three or four of the songs since March and there were a couple of parts I played here in my home studio then sent via email to my producer. It was mostly singles, I had no intention of turning these songs into an album, I was just going to put singles out until I figured out my next album concept or project but once I figured that out I kind of wanted to put a cap on this era. We were so busy with the “Come Back Road” album which came out in 2017 that for three years I was gone none stop with it. We were in Europe three or four times last year and back and forward coast to coast non-stop, so I didn’t have time to go to a studio and create a record that was made in singles just here and there, coming into the studio for an hour, sing one song and leave again but everything there felt kind of cohesive so I wanted to cap it as an album. Do you see the way that people have had to adapt in the way they work and release music going to become the new norm in future and is it pushing the need to keep music flowing more constantly with consumer demand for new music? It's going to change the way things work, for sure. It’s always been kind of the traditional way and obviously things have changed with streaming but you would put an album out then, then you would leave to go and promote it, then a six months of touring turns into another six months and another eighteen months and it keeps stacking up or something will catch on or another song off the record will start burning and the next thing you know is that you can’t get off the road. This is going to change everything because once this album comes out it will be eight weeks later, and everyone will be ready for something different so probably will be looking to get another project out by May
One of the interesting things about Logan is the way that the release of the album almost went against the grain. There is a bizarre almost unwritten rule in the industry that people seem to follow where Friday is when people release new music! This in effect means everyone dilutes the same pool but Mr Mize being his own man, threw that out of the window and decided why not a Wednesday? Not being on a major label, you’ll do anything that you can to get an edge and I enjoy being an independent guy. It’s very beneficial in a lot of ways, it suits me pretty well but at the same time you have got to look for an edge on everybody who has got the big corporation behind them, so Wednesday feels like a good opportunity for that.
A lot of songs on the album had been released over the last year and Logan had mentioned earlier the project had almost become accidentally cohesive. The record not just reaffirms what it is about Mize that is so likeable and relatable but demonstrates his adaptability and creativity with a number of collaborations. A lot of fans particularly on this side of the Atlantic will be familiar with hearing “I Ain’t Gotta Grow Up” and what Willie Jones brings to the track. Willie is someone that I have hung out and chatted with on his last two trips to the UK and you quickly become captivated by his energy and the interesting things about him that genuinely make you feel really cool in being around him. In addition to being featured on the track, Jones previously joined Mize on the road for a string of shows: We did the whole west coast together, so we did: California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and riding round with him is cool. He is his own man and it’s very fun to watch how that guy operates because he is just in his own world and it’s great. My neighbour Eric Hurt is the guy who kind of runs EMPIRE in Nashville and when I lived there, I was there just hanging out like three times a week in his back yard. He was always talking about a couple of different artists he was working with and one in particular he kept bringing up was Willie Jones saying you would love him, you guys would get along great and you should do a collaboration. I finally met him and thought this dude is an interesting cat. The first time we sung together was in Hamburg, Germany so we became friends and decided to do a tour together and he’s just a cool cat! The most recent release of the record is his collaboration with an artist who is right at the top of my list for artists yet to tour the United Kingdom. The rockier edge and a different vocal sound that Clare Dunn brings combined with how awesome she is on stage is something I would be excited for more people to experience in the UK. The video for “Get ‘Em Together” sees both Mize and Dunn returning to their roots and driving large trucks (like they both did before full time careers in music) around a farm in Kansas, so I asked Logan about their friendship and how the duet came to life? Clare and I have been acquaintances slash friends for quite some time. I think the first time we really hung out was when we were out on the road with Dierks (Bentley) in Nevada. It was me, her and Dierks playing Laughlin Amphitheatre when we had both got done with our sets, I can’t remember who played in what order but we’re hanging at the side of the stage and kind of found out that we have a lot in common. We’re both from the same area of the world, similar upbringings and similar tastes in music so we became good buds. Now, she is signed to the same Indy label that I’m at so it really made sense to have her on a song and the video was a blast to shoot. I wondered if people would think that we faked it driving round in the trucks but neither one of us did. That was my full-time job before I made my living doing music, so I was a truck driver and the same with Clare
One of the collaborators that features on this record in terms of the writing credits is Donovan Woods, who is someone else that I have been fortunate enough to hang out with virtually and is a real enigma in terms of imagery and the way that they present ideas. Woods also features on vocals for “Grew Apart” and Mize later recorded an additional version with Alexandra Kay for the record, so I talked with Logan about the process of not just cutting the song but how and why he delivered multiple versions. Donovan pitched me the song, the other song I cut of his was “Better Off Gone” which was doing really well and I’m just a huge fan of Donovan. During that time, he pitched me “Grew Apart” and I was like we’ve got to do this together, you’ve got to jump on it. Then shooting the video, he shot his part in Toronto and I shot my part here in Kansas so that was really fun. I also wanted the opportunity to have a girl part on there too because people online kept saying that you should have a girl sing on this and my manager helped me find Alexandra Kay and I got him to ask her if she would sing on it, so that’s how it all came about
The last track that differentiates from being an out an out Logan Mize track in it’s purest form is a cover of The Chainsmokers collaboration with Coldplay’s “Something Just Like This” which despite being outside of the expected from Mize is something that he absolutely makes his own. I also talked with Logan about how he may vary the songs that he plays and in particular how he may mix setlists up with covers between North American and European shows: That’s actually something that I have found in Europe is the stuff that works there is somewhat different to what my set looks like here. As far as the Coldplay / Chainsmokers song goes, it’s interesting because I would consider myself more of a Foo Fighters than a Coldplay kind of guy, but I think Chris Martin is extremely talented and they have damn good songs. It was an odd play for me to do but Carla Wallace, who runs my record label and publishing company, she sat me down in the office and played me that song. I was like yeah, I know this song, why are you playing it? Then she said, I want you to sing it! I thought no way! I don’t think I can do that. She put it to me saying that everybody expects you to do your Mellencamp and the Foo Fighters, but this is something different and I want to hear you challenge yourself. Then it became a challenge, right? It went into the studio and I heard it back and thought Wow, that sounds legit. On the varying sets, I wouldn’t necessarily play that song in say Daytona, Florida. That would be a different setlist that’s for sure
Logan has been a regular visitor across to Europe over recent years and it’s almost as if every trip ends by planning his next visit but what is it that makes investing the time to build a fanbase and keep coming back so worthwhile? I know there are artists that don’t like to put the work in as on the front end you’re not going to make money and it’s all about the bottom line. I started coming in 2013, the first time I came was when LeAnn Rimes brought me over where I really fell in love and felt strangely at home there. Every time I get back and I keep thinking about when’s the next time I can head back to the UK. The last trip I had was so great, I got sick and had to cancel a show because I should have been resting on my off day but instead I went hiking in the Scottish Highlands and didn’t sleep much, which probably contributed to getting sick but I just have so much fun when I’m there and wish the trips lasted a little longer. The genre really has grown a lot and it feels like there are a lot more artists starting to head over there but I’m glad it’s growing, I really am so I’m excited to see when this thing opens back up what it’s going to be like when we get back over there.
So, rounding off it sounds like as soon as we have an idea of what a post COVID world looks like, jumping on a plane across to Europe will soon be following more new music? Absolutely! We had to cancel dates last year, we had Germany and Switzerland on the books, I don’t know if we had any in the UK on that run but as soon as things start to open, that’s definitely the plan. I’ve been writing a lot and writing a lot by myself, I already have the next album pretty well written so we’re looking at going into the studio in the next month or so, after this one comes out. The new album “Still That Kid” from Logan Mize is out now through Big Yellow Dog Music which is available HERE. You can keep up to date with Logan through his Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks