Local country star rocks Wichita on New Year’s Eve

Logan Mize sings to a packed house at The Cotillion. Mize, a Clearwater native, and his wife, Jill Martin of Andale, performed on New Year’s Eve.

By Paul Rhodes

Country rocker Logan Mize learned something important this past year: You don’t have to live in Nashville to be a country star.

These days Mize – who did put in a long stretch of time in Nashville – is back at home in western Sedgwick County. He’s loving the change of pace, and the reconnection with his Wichita-area fan base.

On New Year’s Eve, Mize and his band, along with his wife, Jill Martin, packed the popular WestSide concert venue The Cotillion for a sold-out performance. Martin – who has her own country music career to smile about – is really back home these days as the couple finishes building a new home on the Martin family farm east of Andale.

Mize, who is the son of one of the owners of the Mize Thriftway grocery store in Clearwater, is comfortably close to home now, as well.

“I’ve still got an apartment in Nashville,” said Mize, who divides up his time between Wichita and Nashville in between the more than 100 concert dates a year he’s logging. It’s a hectic schedule, but it’s still better than just over a year ago, when the two musicians were trying to juggle performances, Logan’s work with an independent publishing company, a house in the Nashville suburbs and two young children.

Jill Martin sings during the New Year’s Eve concert at The Cotillion. Martin is an Andale native.

“Jill and I met in Nashville in 2009, and we lived there until this time last year,” said Mize. Part of the pull back home was the opportunity to rear their kids in Kansas, part of the pull was the chance for a more laid-back lifestyle, and a final part of the pull was Logan’s mom, who was fighting color cancer. Kelly Mize, a high school literature teacher in Clearwater, is doing better now, and jokes that she made the ultimate sacrifice to help get Logan and Jill and the grandkids back home.

In addition to his skyrocketing touring career, Logan Mize is a staff writer for Big Yellow Dog, an independent publishing company representing several top performers, including singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor. Mize is working on a record now with Atlantic Records, in partnership with Big Yellow Dog, to follow up his popular “Comeback Road” album from 2017.

“We’re playing a lot off of that album at our concerts now,” said Mize.

“Honestly, things have never been better,” Mize said of his work back in Nashville, here at home, and on the road. His tour stops this year will cover the U.S., with additional dates in Canada and Europe.

When he’s home in Kansas, Mize can often be found in his office and recording studio above his father Eric’s meat department at the family grocery store in Clearwater. With the more relaxed atmosphere, Mize feels he’s actually writing at a more productive pace now that he’s back home.

“When you get to Nashville, you end up feeling like you’re on an assembly line,” said Mize. “I just felt like something was wrong.”

Mize resolved that feeling by touring with bigger performers, cutting an album and then figuring out how to book sold-out performances. That brought him back to Wichita, where his New Year’s Eve shows are the place to be. He’s performed five of those shows in the last six years.

“Wichita has been instrumental to my career,” said Mize. “It just naturally happened, and now we have a fan base here. I really believe it’s the reason my career has the momentum it does right now.”

Jill Martin and Logan Mize stop for a quick photo ahead of their New Year’s Eve concert in front of a packed house at The Cotillion.

Mize thanked his fans over and over again at The Cotillion on New Year’s Eve, and in return he and Jill Martin delivered performances that made the sold-out crowd to wild. For her part, Martin performed most of her new six-song EP, “The Locals.”

The EP features songs she and Mize wrote together, and in early January, Martin filmed a music video of “Loretta,” one of the songs on the record. That music video was filmed at a home in Andale.

“It’s a slower pace here, and it’s nice for the kids,” said Martin. “They have family here, and they really wanted to move back.” Their son, Lincoln, is 7, and their daughter, Violet, will turn 4 in February.

Martin cut back on her singing career to be with the kids, and now she’s turning back to her music. The new EP came out just before the end of 2018 and quickly rocketed up to No. 7 on the iTunes country chart.

Her parents, Charlie and Kara Martin, are around to help with the kids now, and lots of other family members are in the area. That will help Martin work on her music while Logan is out on the road.

“It gave me goose bumps, looking out in the crowd and seeing so many people singing the words to my songs,” said Martin. “And they’d only been out a few days.”

That’s something both Martin and Mize can count on, now that they’re back home.

In addition to his skyrocketing touring career, Logan Mize is a staff writer for Big Yellow Dog, an independent publishing company representing several top performers, including singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor. Mize is working on a record now with Atlantic Records, in partnership with Big Yellow Dog, to follow up his popular “Comeback Road” album from 2017.

“We’re playing a lot off of that album at our concerts now,” said Mize.

“Honestly, things have never been better,” Mize said of his work back in Nashville, here at home, and on the road. His tour stops this year will cover the U.S., with additional dates in Canada and Europe.

When he’s home in Kansas, Mize can often be found in his office and recording studio above his father Eric’s meat department at the family grocery store in Clearwater. With the more relaxed atmosphere, Mize feels he’s actually writing at a more productive pace now that he’s back home.

“When you get to Nashville, you end up feeling like you’re on an assembly line,” said Mize. “I just felt like something was wrong.”

Mize resolved that feeling by touring with bigger performers, cutting an album and then figuring out how to book sold-out performances. That brought him back to Wichita, where his New Year’s Eve shows are the place to be. He’s performed five of those shows in the last six years.

“Wichita has been instrumental to my career,” said Mize. “It just naturally happened, and now we have a fan base here. I really believe it’s the reason my career has the momentum it does right now.”

Mize thanked his fans over and over again at The Cotillion on New Year’s Eve, and in return he and Jill Martin delivered performances that made the sold-out crowd to wild. For her part, Martin performed most of her new six-song EP, “The Locals.”

The EP features songs she and Mize wrote together, and in early January, Martin filmed a music video of “Loretta,” one of the songs on the record. That music video was filmed at a home in Andale.

“It’s a slower pace here, and it’s nice for the kids,” said Martin. “They have family here, and they really wanted to move back.” Their son, Lincoln, is 7, and their daughter, Violet, will turn 4 in February.

Martin cut back on her singing career to be with the kids, and now she’s turning back to her music. The new EP came out just before the end of 2018 and quickly rocketed up to No. 7 on the iTunes country chart.

Her parents, Charlie and Kara Martin, are around to help with the kids now, and lots of other family members are in the area. That will help Martin work on her music while Logan is out on the road.

“It gave me goose bumps, looking out in the crowd and seeing so many people singing the words to my songs,” said Martin. “And they’d only been out a few days.”

That’s something both Martin and Mize can count on, now that they’re back home.