Logan Mize weaves yarn with equal measures elegance (“Sunflowers”) and energy (“I Remember Everything”). Evidence: The Music City resident’s buoyant Nobody in Nashville. Mize’s fiery new collection backs earthy (“Good Life”) and ethereal narratives (“The State of Your Heart”) and with richly detailed storytelling (“Hey Carolina”). At peaks, the 26-year-old balances heartache (“High-N-Dry”) and hope (“Rock and Roll Band”) with insightful wisdom gained through personal experience. “I got married about a year and a half ago,” Mize says. “So, pre-marriage heartbreak songs and post-marriage happy songs are mixed together. I wanted them to have a timeless feel.”
The rapidly rising songwriter undoubtedly has succeeded. Nobody in Nashville fuels both punchy country (“I Give In”) and raw rock and roll (“Ball and Chain”) with an intangible everyman appeal. “Logan has that great gift of authenticity,” says Daniel Tashian, who co-wrote four songs and co-produced the new album (due March 13). “Like those poets of the heartland that came before him – Dylan, Petty, Mellencamp – his images are real and hard-won. He's not making up words; these are the pictures of his life.” One legend particularly helps the Kansas native craft his singular story.
“Tom Petty’s my favorite songwriter both melodically and lyrically,” Mize admits. “There’s a lot of times I’m listening to Echo or the Wildflowers record and go, ‘I want something that sounds like that.’ So, I pull from places like that, but I definitely don’t want to try to think about anybody else when I’m writing. I want to pull straight from my own head. I keep it my own for sure.” His mission statement emerges in the seamless title track. “I’m just three chords and twelve hundred miles,” he sings defiantly as mushrooming drums and spiky guitars punctuate his point, “from telling the whole world the honest truth.”
Mize’s lofty aim pays high dividends: The singer-songwriter has shared stages with boldfaced names like Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, The Band Perry, Billy Currington, Pat Green, Stoney LaRue and the Charlie Daniels Band. In fact, his high-octane live show, infectious melodies and distinctive vocals have turned heads throughout Nashville and beyond. “You know it’s Logan on a song,” says celebrated songwriter Liz Rose (Taylor Swift’s Grammy-winning “White Horse”), who co-wrote “I Remember Everything” with Mize and Tashian. “Nobody sounds like him, so real and so much grit!” Bucky Covington was so taken by Mize’s song “Mexicoma” that he recorded it on his album Live from Rockingham and frequently anchors shows around the boozy border travelogue.
Mize takes such achievements in even stride. He’s far more concerned about more artistically fulfilling goals. “Oh, sure, it’d be great to get a Tim McGraw cut,” says the staff writer for Nashville powerhouse Big Yellow Dog. “But I just want to write good songs and I hope people like them. I like to paint a picture that’s easy to look at and is just something that feels good and has vivid imagery.” Stellar song craft runs deep in his blood: Logan counts Billy Mize, longtime Merle Haggard steel guitarist and pioneer of the Bakersfield sound, as kin. The connection once landed him onstage before The Hag himself. “They called me to come out and play a couple songs at my uncle Billy’s 80th birthday party at Buck Owens Crystal Palace in Bakersfield,” Logan Mize recalls. “I was getting ready to go up and play and there was this interview playing with Haggard talking about Billy Mize’s songwriting. He said that his favorite Billy Mize song was called ‘Who Will Buy the Wine’ and that’s the song I had to play. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Afterward, Haggard gave me the nod like, ‘You don’t suck that bad.’”