Logan Mize’s life already has followed the script of a country song.
He grew up in a small town. Lived in his car trying to make his music dreams come true. Was saved by the love of a good woman.
And he’s only 26 years old.
Mize, a Clearwater native who’s making a name for himself in Nashville as a singer/songwriter, will return to Wichita on Friday for a concert and CD release party at The Orpheum, 200 N. Broadway.
And the good woman — his wife, former “American Idol” contestant Jill Martin — will open for him.
Mize’s new album, “Nobody in Nashville,” is set to be released Tuesday. It’s his second full-length, independently released album and contains “earthy” songs that showcase his Americana/country/roots rock style.
“Kansas is my home. It’s where I’ve been able to build the core audience from the beginning,” Mize said. “I just wanted to go back and play where it all started. My friends are there. My family is there. I just love it.”
Mize grew up in Clearwater, the grandson of the local grocer. His grandfather, Nolan, has Mize Thriftway.
As a youngster, he took piano lessons but was more interested in sports — and in his friends not finding out he took piano lessons.
He was a high school star in both football and wrestling and was recruited to play college football at Hutchinson Community College, later transferring to Southern Illinois University on a football scholarship.
But his heart wasn’t on the football field.
During college, Mize had picked up the guitar and rekindled his secret love of music.
He’d heard about the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, just a three-hour drive from Carbondale. He became obsessed with trying to play at the venue and started showing up late to football practice or skipping it altogether.
“It got to the point where I probably needed to pick one or the other,” he said. “It was finally to the point I couldn’t take it any more. I wanted to do music full time.”
Mize dropped out of college and returned to Wichita, where he worked framing houses. But the lure of Nashville was too strong. In January 2006, he got in his car and headed back to Nashville, where he slept in a friend’s laundry room and drove a dump truck during the day, all the while writing songs, forming bands and securing gigs.
Finally, in 2008, he got a publishing deal with a songwriter who had written for stars such as Lee Ann Womack and Montgomery Gentry. After he lost that job, he briefly lived out of his Chevy Suburban and worked second shift building forklift palates.
“I’d just go park at a campsite and sleep in my Suburban,” he said. “I was just making enough to get by.”
Not long after, Mize heard from a friend that a girl from Andale was moving to Nashville and that he should meet up with her.
He and Martin were married in July 2010, and they now have a 7-month-old son.
The couple’s careers have both picked up since then. Martin, a country singer, appeared on last year’s installment of hit television singing competition “American Idol,” where she made it to the “Hollywood Round.”
Mize has gotten another job writing songs for Big Yellow Dog Music in Nashville, and he performs whenever he can. His resume now includes opening gigs for acts such as Hank Williams Jr., Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry.
It also includes a stint performing at the 2011 inaugural ball for just-elected Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, whose daughter’s boyfriend recommended Mize’s song “Never Gonna Change.” Brownback and his wife danced the ball’s first dance to the song.
“It was something different,” Mize said. “I’m not a political person at all. But he was a cool dude, and it was a great night.”
Although he hopes his career as a performer will continue to flourish, fame is not necessarily his ultimate goal, Mize said.
“I’m not in it for the glory,” he said. “I’m in it for the love of the music. If my name gets out there, great. Obviously, I have to make a living and sell records. But really, I just love doing this.”