When Logan Mize moved to Nashville as a 20-year-old college dropout, he had never been in a band before. He had hardly grasped the concept of a publishing deal when he landed one with Big Yellow Dog Music in 2010, along with a record and booking deal to make it official.
The emerging act did know the value of storytelling, and he spent the next seven years sharing his narrative tunes at seemingly every stage across the country. Humility shines through his candidness, winning over the hearts of fans that sold out several stops on his 2017 solo acoustic tour. By the time he released Come Back Road—a Billboard Top 20—that same year, he was able to reflect with clarity on a few of his missteps on his winding journey in Music City.
“Eventually, I grew up, got married, had kids, and faced responsibility,” he says over the phone. “The thing that songwriting afforded me was to remain a kid at heart. I’ve been fortunate to have enough success to keep that spirit alive.”
Mize’s full-lengths have been few are far between since his self-titled debut in 2009, but his latest album, Still That Kid, displays his evolution as a country artist and storyteller. The 13-track collection—featuring Donovan Woods, Alexandra Kay, and Willie Jones—bears the years between with a masterful approach of a vetted country artist. All the while, his lyrics suggest not much has changed since back then.
His new video, “Practice Swing,” premiering March 30 from his latest record, Still That Kid, tells a story of the mistakes we make as reckless teenagers and hard lessons learned. Filmed amidst the pandemic, social distancing measures dictated the set and cast. Mize, who lives in “the middle of nowhere” near his hometown, called upon his uncle, the Mayor of a nearby municipality, and asked to borrow “props.” Graciously he sent out a police officer—Officer Lopez—who chased down the depicted teenagers from their underage shenanigans.
The Mayor also lent out the high school football stadium to set the classic party scene—the one where the guy loses the girl and the gathering gets busted. Because of COVID-19, the “party” was a hand-selected core of family and friends spread out along the spanning yard lines, facing 50mph winds on a Midwestern winter evening.
“Practice Swing,” penned by Randy Montana (Luke Combs, Carly Pearce, Jon Pardi) and Blake Chaffin (Brent Cobb, Rodney Atkins, Brantley Gilbert), reveals lyrically confessional content. Each song serves as an uncovered memento from Mize’s time-capsule, buried at age 17 beneath the dusty Kansas dirt.
“American Livin'” and “Who Didn’t” set the scene of his rural American upbringing, while “Who Didn’t” celebrate the universality of coming-of-age in the country. His bouncy duet with Clare Dunn’s “Get ‘Em Together” feels like a souvenir of the magnetic infatuation impatiently waiting on their next unsupervised encounter. Two varying versions of “Grew Apart”—one featuring the songwriter Donovan Woods which has amassed over 20 million streams, the other with Alexandra Kay—offer a dual-perspective of the tragic end of adolescent love.
Like his great uncle, Billy Mize—renowned for evolving Merle Haggard and Buck Owens’ legendary Bakersfield sound—the Kansas native adapts his traditional influences to the modern pop-leaning Nashville sound. His dynamic work subscribes to production trends while maintaining a neo-traditional soundscape that is undoubtedly Mize.
“I didn’t even know how to sing when I put my first album out,” he laughs. “And I was too shy to sing as a kid, but I’ve been obsessed with Elton John since I could walk.
When he shared his entrance album over a decade ago, he had not performed before a live audience. Too timid to play the music he wanted to when he first started, Mize had little confidence in his forward path. He had one producer who liked him to use a “gravely” voice, so that’s how he continued to sing.
“Now I go in, I’ve got my 10,00 hours in,” says Mize. “I can hear myself and can tell a story. Whereas before, I was hanging on for dear life. Still That Kid and my first album are just light years apart from each other. But, there’s still a lot of the same ole’ me in there.”
Watch the exclusive premiere of Logan Mize’s new video “Practice Swing” below. Listen to Still That Kid, released January 27 via Big Yellow Dog, here.