Logan Mize, loves music and Montana, plays Downtown Summer Jam June 19

Kansas native Logan Mize started making a name for himself in county music in 2009.

By 2010 he signed a deal with Big Yellow Dog Music and in 2012 released his second album, which peaked at No. 49 on the U.S. country chart.

Mize was touring all over the U.S. and the United Kingdom, building a fan base, but in 2016, was having trouble booking a tour.

Concert series returns to downtown Great Falls

So, he and a couple of guys set off in a 1989 Chevy Caprice station wagon named Glenn and traveled 20,000 miles, playing about 40 cities in two months on a tour driven entirely by social media.

“I’ve always been a DIY kinda guy,” Mize said.

That makeshift tour grossed a lot more than they expected, Mize said.

It wasn’t that he wanted to live in a station wagon for two months, he said, but if they were having trouble booking gigs, he was the kind of guy to think ‘don’t leave any stones unturned.’

“You gotta do what you gotta do,” he said.

Now he’s on the Better Off Gone tour that lands in downtown Great Falls on June 19 as the first of this year’s Downtown Summer Jam concert series, hosted by Enbär, Mighty Mo and Fat Tuesday’s.

Mize has never played Great Falls before, though he’s been to Montana a few times and last summer he played in Billings at the Pub Station Ballroom.

His heartland rock sound is his own brand of county music, he said, and “I think people will really did it.”

His current single Better Off Gone is doing well and he recently released the From the Vault album on YouTube of songs that hadn’t been included on previous albums.

Mize comes from an artistic family. His father is a sculptor and painter and his great-uncle was Billy Mize, largely known for crafting and evolving the legendary Bakersfield sound, which included musical pioneers Merle Haggard and Buck Owens.

Mize said he didn’t know about his great-uncle until he moved to Nashville. The younger Mize stayed in the country music capital for a few years but is now back home in Kansas with his wife and two kids.

Balancing the tour schedule with family life can be tricky, he said, and this year has been “crazy busy.

But when he’s home he said he’s 100 percent home, focusing his attention on his wife and kids to “make up for time I’m gone.”

Despite not knowing his great-uncle’s musical influence until much later in life, music was always a part of Mize’s life.

He played piano as a kid and “Kenny Chesney was popular at the time and I thought I’d do that,” he said.

He got some ribbing from family and friends for that, but didn’t ignore his gut instinct to pursue music.

To Mize, the arts and music are important regardless of whether some makes a career of it.

“I’m a huge arts lover,” he said. “I don’t know what I would have done” without the arts.

As far as music education goes, he took piano lessons as a kid and some of the components that seem less fun as a kid, like theory, come in handy later when you realize you know how to do more things, he said.

Mize encourages parents to get their kids into the arts early. They may not like it at first, but it can provide valuable skills and life lessons.

“Music has magical powers,” Mize said. “It’s the universal language. A community without the arts is not a place I’d want to be.”

Mize has also loved Montana since he was a kid and has visited Glacier National Park.

Whenever he plays a show here, he gets invites to go fishing or some other outdoor activity.

“I was hoping I would get some time to throw a rod,” he said, but time may not allow it on this trip.

Another time, perhaps.