NEWS SCAN: FDA shutters peanut plant, food illness test drawbacks, WHO on novel coronavirus, Hong Kong respiratory illness

first_imgNov 27, 2012FDA bars operations at tainted peanut butter plantThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday suspended the food facility registration of Sunland Inc., which produced peanut butter linked to a Salmonella Bredeney outbreak, according to an FDA statement. The action was the agency’s first use of new authorities granted under the Food Safety Modernization Act passed in January 2011. The law allows the FDA to bar companies from distributing their products if the agency believes the food poses a health threat. In a letter to Sunland’s president, the FDA said it pulled the company’s registration based on the company’s testing records that showed Salmonella contamination in products from 11 different lots and an FDA inspection that found Salmonella in several environmental samples. The agency acknowledged Sunland’s response to an inspection report it issued earlier this month but said the company omitted significant details about repairs and corrective actions it plans to take. The FDA concluded that until Sunland takes those steps, food processed or held by the company has a reasonable probability of causing illness. The outbreak linked to Sunland peanut products has caused 41 Salmonella infections in 20 states.Nov 26 FDA letterNov 8 CDC outbreak updateNew foodborne illness tests have benefits, drawbacksNew tests for detecting a range of foodborne pathogens are quick, less expensive, and can diagnose more infections but present a drawback for identifying and tracking foodborne illness outbreaks, Scientific American reported yesterday. The story quoted public health officials who said they are seeing a dropoff in the number of illness reports based on culture tests that allow laboratory experts to determine the specific bacterial strain and enter it into the PulseNet system, a national molecular subtyping network for identifying foodborne bacteria. Experts raised similar concerns in a 2011 CIDRAP News report that explored the increasing reliance on enzyme immunoassay (EIA) tests to detect Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli rather than growing the bacterium in culture. That report noted that the newer testing method can skew infection incidence reporting and that some states were addressing the information gap by asking providers to submit the E coli specimen or broth when the EIA test was positive. The Scientific American story flagged similar issues with Salmonella and Campylobacter testing and said the challenge for public health is to find new ways to monitor and address new outbreaks, which could entail even newer tests that help with investigating foodborne illness.Nov 26 Scientific American reportJul 21, 2011, CIDRAP News story “Changes in E coli testing pose surveillance challenges”WHO comments on reasons for advice to broaden coronavirus testingThe World Health Organization (WHO) has filled in some details on the reasons for its recent advice to broaden testing for the novel coronavirus that has caused six illnesses and two deaths in recent months. In reporting the four latest cases last week, the WHO said the virus may not be confined to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the sources of the cases so far. The agency advised governments to consider testing people who have unexplained pneumonia even if they have no links to those two countries. The WHO’s Anthony Mounts, MD, said there is no proof of cases elsewhere, but there is little reason to think the virus is restricted to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to a Canadian Press (CP) report. Mounts said the first two case-patients, who fell ill in June and September, had both been in Mecca, raising the possibility that the virus was found only there. But in the more recent cases, some patients had not been in Mecca before they got sick, and one Qatari patient had not traveled outside the country, Mounts said. The WHO believes that because people got sick in different places, it’s unlikely that the risk is limited to the two countries, the story said. Mounts also said two of the more recent patients were not as sick as the first two, in that they didn’t experience kidney failure, suggesting that there’s a milder form of the disease.Related Nov 26 CIDRAP News storyHong Kong probes respiratory illness cluster at animal facilityAuthorities in Hong Kong are investigating a cluster of respiratory infections in five men who work at an animal management center in Sheung Shui, according to a statement yesterday from Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP). The men, who range in age from 27 to 64, got sick from Nov 6 to Nov 24. All were hospitalized, some with pneumonia, and one—the 27-year-old—was discharged on Nov 22 in stable condition. So far diagnostic tests have not pinpointed the cause of the infection, and specimens from a 55-year-old man were negative for novel coronavirus. The CHP said monitoring of family contacts has turned up no other similar infections. It said that 16 seized parrots were being housed at the animal facility, and 10 of the birds were culled after 3 of them died. Animal health officials are monitoring the health of the other birds. The CHP said officials are exploring the possibility of psittacosis.Nov 26 CHP statementlast_img read more

Bioterror Scan for Sep 28, 2017

first_imgHHS invests up to half a billion in freeze-dried smallpox vaccineUsing Project BioShield funding, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is investing up to $539 million in a freeze-dried (lyophilized) smallpox vaccine for women who are pregnant or nursing and for people with HIV or atopic dermatitis, HHS said in a press release today.The HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will buy doses of the Imvamune vaccine from Denmark’s Bavarian Nordic over 5 years for a total of $100 million. BARDA has the option of using Project BioShield funding to support any additional studies needed for Bavarian Nordic to apply for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensure of the lyophilized vaccine and to buy additional doses. Pursuing these options would bring the total award to more than $539 million.”A critical component of preparedness is making sure effective medical countermeasures are available for a range of populations,” said BARDA Director Rick Bright, PhD. “In addition to the long-term cost savings realized with extended shelf-life, this vaccine could help protect certain populations for which other stockpiled smallpox vaccine may be less appropriate.”Pending FDA approval, the freeze-dried vaccine could be used during a public health emergency involving smallpox if the FDA allows for emergency use. The vaccine is a freeze-dried formulation of the liquid frozen vaccine already stockpiled by the US government. The lyophilized vaccine is expected to be stable over a longer period, resulting in lower taxpayer costs, HHS said.In clinical studies, a two-dose vaccine regimen has been tested safely in more than 7,000 people, and the vaccine has had a similar safety profile and immune response as the liquid-frozen vaccine. The Project BioShield Act of 2004 allows BARDA to research, develop, and buy medical countermeasures such as vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.This is the third such HHS award to manufacture Imvamune in bulk, Bavarian Nordic said in a news release. The two previous orders totaled $233 million.Sep 28 HHS news release Sep 28 Bavarian Nordic news release BARDA awards $8 million for rapid point-of-care anthrax testIn other BARDA news, the agency earlier this week awarded an $8.1 million contract to InBios International, Inc, of Seattle to advance research and development on a rapid point-of-care test for the bacterium that causes anthrax, according to a separate HHS news release.The 3-year contract will support the studies needed for the company to apply for FDA licensure, as well as for studies needed to support submission of the test for pre–Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. The test might be able to determine within 15 minutes whether a patient has been infected with Bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax, HHS said.”Inhalational anthrax is a deadly disease and a significant biological threat to our nation,” said BARDA Director Bright. “To save lives during an anthrax emergency, health care providers must be able to screen patients rapidly to provide treatment as quickly as possible. That’s our goal in supporting development of point-of-care tests like this.”InBios’s test, a lateral flow immunoassay, detects B anthracis by identifying specific proteins from the bacterium in a few drops of blood. In studies, the test has identified the proteins within about 15 minutes. It could be used by first responders and in healthcare settings.Sep 26 HHS press releaselast_img read more

Udall, Heinrich: Homeland Security Improvement Act

first_imgU.S. SENATE News:New Senate legislation is a companion to House-passed bill that will create a DHS ombudsman to improve agency accountability and ensure better engagement with border communitiesWASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), along with U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) haveintroduced the Homeland Security Improvement Act to address some of the nation’s immigration challenges at the southwest border and improve Department of Homeland Security (DHS) engagement with border communities.The bill establishes an ombudsman for border and immigration enforcement related concerns within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to better ensure accountability, transparency, and oversight. The corresponding House bill sponsored by U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar (D-TX.), H.R. 2203, passed in a 230-194 vote in September 2019.Currently, DHS develops its own rules and policies for the conduct of operations along the border without meaningful input from stakeholders, particularly border communities – creating increasing tension between the agency and the public. The Homeland Security Improvement Act significantly improves DHS operations by mandating community input on enforcement policies and programs and improves transparency by requiring robust reporting on actions and operations.Udall: “DHS performs important missions in border security and facilitating border trade, but right now, DHS enforcement practices lack transparency and the department is failing to engage with the communities where the agency’s presence is greatest. Public complaints and requests sometimes sit for months on DHS desks and often go completely ignored. DHS should be accountable to the American people who deserve to know and have input on the way their taxpayer dollars are used and the way their government engages with the public.“The creation of an ombudsman role will streamline DHS operations for the benefit of our border communities—including those in New Mexico—and ultimately benefit DHS and its employees as well. With the Homeland Security Improvement Act, we will empower our border communities in New Mexico, and other border states, to more efficiently and safely handle the immigration needs that are at their doorsteps.”Heinrich: “The Trump administration’s inhumane and reckless immigration and border policies have endangered the lives of immigrants and instilled fear in New Mexico’s border communities. We must hold the Department of Homeland Security accountable for adhering to our laws and to American values. Establishing an ombudsman within the Department of Homeland Security is a critical step towards increasing transparency and accountability for ICE and CBP.”Escobar: “The Homeland Security Improvement Act is a critical piece of legislation that will bring us closer to ensuring DHS has the accountability and oversight the agency so desperately needs while protecting our agents, officers and border communities, and affirming our nation’s commitment to helping the most vulnerable among us. I look forward to working with Sen. Udall and the Senate to advance this legislation and leading in our nation’s fight to restore human dignity.”DHS routinely fails to respond, investigate, or provide appropriate redress to public complaints. Complainants frequently wait months or years, only to receive form letters, if anything at all, in response to serious complaints alleging misconduct and mismanagement. DHS also directs individuals to file complaints through a confusing variety of processes, resulting in departmental inefficiency and public confusion about where and how to address concerns. This inadequate process exacerbates tensions between the agency and the communities in which it operates, which contributes to public dissatisfaction and lower agency morale. The creation of an ombudsman will alleviate these issues by increasing transparency and accountability and assisting individuals in resolving complaints.The Homeland Security Improvement Act is supported by a number of organizations including America’s Voice, American Civil Liberties Union, Border Network for Human Rights, National Education Association, Service Employees International Union, and the Southern Border Communities Coalition.“BNHR and the thousands of border residents we represent applaud and support the leadership of Senator Udall for introducing the Homeland Security Improvement Act. This legislation, which already passed in the House of Representatives, will bring the necessary transparency, professionalism, and accountability mechanisms to our border enforcement agencies and law enforcement institutions. By bringing this important legislation to the Senate, Sen. Udall is responding to the concerns and drawing upon the solutions that border residents have expounded for years. America can, and must have borders rooted in constitutional, civil, and human rights,” said Executive Director Fernando Garcia of the Border Network for Human Rights.“The southern border region is one of hope, encounter and opportunity, but for too long, ICE and CBP have operated under a culture of impunity, sowing fear and threatening the values our vibrant border communities hold dear. We thank Sen. Udall for introducing this bill as a vital step to bring urgently needed transparency and accountability to border agents for their actions. These agencies have abused their authority with impunity. It is time to re-think borders to align with our nation’s core values and this bill is an important step in that direction,” said Director Vicki B. Gaubeca of the Southern Border Communities Coalition.“The ACLU endorses the Homeland Security Improvement Act’s constructive measures to increase oversight and accountability of CBP and ICE, the country’s largest law enforcement force. By improving complaint processes and requiring stakeholder consultation, this bill creates new vehicles to address the pattern of abusive conduct by DHS in the border region and throughout the nation. We strongly support these much-needed structural improvements to DHS’s transparency — including body-worn cameras, which must be accompanied by strong future policy guidance — as vital responses to egregious rights violations by ICE and CBP,” said Director Astrid Dominguez of the ACLU’s Border Rights Center.The Homeland Security Improvement Act would:• Establish an independent ombudsman to promote a neutral and confidential process to assist individuals with complaints against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).• Direct the ombudsman to establish a Border Oversight Panel to evaluate and make recommendations regarding the border enforcement policies, strategies, and programs that directly affect border communities.• Require the ombudsman to conduct annual training evaluations,• Mandate the ombudsman create an electronic tracking system to speed up family unity,• Direct the ombudsman to develop a plan requiring the use of body-worn cameras by U.S. Border Patrol agents and ICE officers when engaged in border security and immigration enforcement activities.The full text of the legislation can be found HERE.last_img read more

As pissed as Jocky and banned from the oche

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Wilkes Takes Photography To New Heights

first_img Stephen Wilkes Share Stephen Wilkes Stephen Wilkes Stephen Wilkes Stephen Wilkes Famed photographer Stephen Wilkes has created “Day to Night” photographs of cities and natural habitats throughout the world. Perching himself atop a 50-foot viewing platform looking down, Wilkes remains a stationary observer for hours on end, gathering 1200 to 1500 images from dawn until dusk that will be combined into a single image.Recently featured in National Geographic’s issue celebrating 100 years of State Parks in America, his work is being shown at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor through September 27.How did you get into this form of photography? It seems to require a lot of patience.It’s all the things I love about the medium of photography and that’s how it evolved. There’s the initial seed of an idea and then there’s the moment where something presents itself, and then there’s this intersection when you take the idea and create an execution where it comes to life. For me, the seed was in 1996 I was doing a photograph for Life Magazine on the Romeo & Juliet film, where they asked me to do a panoramic of the cast and crew, all in one photograph. I got there and the set was a square, so I’m trying to think how I can make it panoramic.I remembered seeing a David Hockney collage of pictures and thought rather than shoot one picture, I could shoot 250 images. That’s what I started doing. I had the cast and crew all together, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the center of the picture with Claire Danes, and then the cast and crew behind them. I started on the far left and I began to slowly pan my camera and take pictures. As I photographed, there was this huge mirror in my view and in that mirror, Leo and Claire were reflecting. At that moment, I said, “Could you kiss for this one picture?” And they kissed.Then I came back to New York and spent a week putting this together by hand. I just looked at it, dumbfounded, and saw the concept of changing time in a photograph kind of hit me. That stayed with me for 16 years until the advent of Photoshop. When I saw technology could do with Photoshop, suddenly that idea came back to the forefront.How do you prepare for your shoots?The machines I go with are 150 to 170 feet. I only go up about 50 feet in the air but there are so many variables with what could go wrong. If I get more than a 10-mph wind at night, I can’t shoot; I get too much vibration. I could have the most perfect day and then when the sun sets, gusts of wind change everything. So many factors have to come together to create these images. At the end of the day, hopefully I’ve done my homework and the weather cooperates. I like to create a positive energy around a photograph. That’s when the magic happens.What was your first project?The intersection came when I had an assignment for New York Magazine to photograph the High Line, something that really captures the scale and its context to the city in a way. I spent several days scouting and looking. I became enchanted by this perspective that when you’re on the High Line you can sort of recognize the people on the street corner and then look up and see people in the building windows. It has this very unique scale to the city.I fell in love with it around noon, when people were having lunch and chatting. Then I came back at 10:30 PM and it was spooky and had a completely different vibe. I asked to do a day to night, south to north on the High Line and make it into one picture. That’s how it really started. After I did that one, there was an amazing reaction to it online. Then I did a second one of Washington Square Park and it was through those two experiences that I began to really realize I stepped into this concept of compressing time in a two-dimensional image.How does sitting in what you call a “catbird seat” change your perspective?The work started as a love affair with New York. When I began to work, I became fascinated by what the energy looks like when we all walk around and describe a city. What does it look like when you get above it? As I began to explore this concept, a sweet spot of about 40, 50 feet in the air, life begins to move almost like schools of fish. People don’t look like individuals anymore, it all becomes this flowing river of emergent behavior. How people adapt and move. The more I did in the city, the more I became fascinated by this narrative I was witnessing.When you’re 40 feet in the air in New York, you’re invisible. It’s a seat where you’re watching people and nobody sees you watching. It’s the ultimate voyeur perspective. When you stay at a place and you photograph for 24, 36 hours, you see things that others don’t see and stories emerge in front of the lens that aren’t really obvious to others. I have this love affair with seeing and looking. I have this visual appetite of constantly finding these magical moments throughout the day and night.Which view is your favorite?Coney Island. I don’t think I even ate a sandwich there because I was afraid of missing how amazing the people were. A constant stream of all walks of life. When you describe New York as a melting pot, Coney Island is a place where you really see it all.What emotion does this type of photography elicit from you?For me these photographs are capturing a unique moment in history. When I can photograph an actual historical event in context, it elevates it even more for me. Who knows, 100 years from now someone could look at these pictures, like a piece of amber, and see what a day was like. It’s frozen.A photograph can tell the story of a moment in time while I’m compressing hundreds of moments in that photograph. It touches people in a way that’s exciting to see, the way they engage in the work. People can sort of walk into the photograph and explore it, they spend time looking at it, and I’ve spent time creating it. There’s this connection between what I’ve put in versus the amount of time people want to look.It’s an informative process.Is there a certain moment that stands out?Right now, I’m moving toward capturing wildlife and animal communication. That really began with a photograph I created in the Serengeti, spending 26 hours photographing the watering hole. I was there during the peak migration. There was a drought going on for five weeks and I discovered all these animals by the watering hole. I was able to set up my truck and what I witnessed was nothing short of biblical.All of these competitive species were all drinking and bathing in the water. There was never a grunt or a scowl. They all dropped their guard. When it came to the water, everybody shares. For me to see this, these animals have another level of communication that we don’t have, sharing the precious resource of water, really was an “ah ha” moment. I’d be applying what I’d be seeing in the world and in wildlife to an upcoming series for National Geographic of bird migration.Tulla Booth Gallery is located at 66 Main Street in Sag Harbor. Visit www.tullaboothgallery.com or call 917-488-1229.nicole@indyeastend.comlast_img read more

Court Decision on Elbe Deepening in February

first_imgThe long-awaited court decision on the Elbe deepening project will be announced on February 9th 2017, reports the Port of Hamburg.According to the port, the adjustment of the navigation channel on the Lower and Outer Elbe is the most important strategic expansion project for the Port of Hamburg.In view of the rapidly growing ships, Hamburg is dependent on adapting its seaward access to this technical development in the long term. This is the only way to ensure that Hamburg can be called at economically viable conditions and that its port remains competitive, the port said in today’s release.During the oral proceedings of the last three days, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig intensively discussed legal and technical questions related to the adjustment of the navigation channel for containerships with a depth of 14.5 meters.The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the federal government were able to present their arguments and to prove the results which were obtained in sound investigations.Frank Horch, Senator for Economy, Transport and Innovation of the City of Hamburg, said: “We are confidently looking forward to the pronouncement of the decision which is announced for the 9th February 2017.”The legal questions that were discussed partially touched new legal ground. The forthcoming decision of the court on the “Elbe deepening” will show for the first time how the legal framework on water resources management and water protection has to be applied Germany-wide.The Hamburg Port Authority said that it is prepared to start the dredging measures immediately in the event of a positive judgment.last_img read more

‘Dire need’ for solicitors to undertake pro bono work

first_imgThere is a ‘dire need’ for solicitors to undertake pro bono work, legal aid minister Lord Bach admitted this week. Addressing Monday’s joint national pro bono conference in London, which kicked off National Pro Bono Week, Bach suggested there should be a ‘professional expectation’ on lawyers to give free legal advice. He said he was keen to hear the outcome of a Junior Lawyers Division debate this week on whether pro bono should be compulsory. ‘My personal view is that [if there were a professional expectation on lawyers to do pro bono work] that might go some way to increasing the confidence that the general public have in lawyers and the respect with which they are viewed,’ he said. Bach said pro bono had a vital role to play given the constraints on legal aid. ‘There remains a strong need to make sure we do our upmost to protect the vulnerable. Pro bono is hugely important in this respect. And I go further – there is a dire need for it.’ Former attorney general Lord Goldsmith QC, who chairs the Access to Justice Foundation, told delegates he will target unclaimed client account balances as an additional source of income for the foundation, which this week announced its first-ever round of 14 grants. It has received income from the first three pro bono costs orders, as well as donations. Meanwhile, Virgin Trains dedicated one carriage of a first-class coach free of charge to transport 40 lawyers between the two pro bono conferences held in London and Manchester this week, enabling lawyers to brainstorm ideas about how to increase pro bono collaboration during the journey. Other highlights of the week included the launch of ALLIES – a local lawyer in every school – an initiative to promote and support lawyers becoming school governors, and a flagship event at Toynbee Hall in London providing workshops and advice to social entrepreneurs. The law faculty at Oxford University launched its first pro bono programme alongside local firm Turpin & Miller. Students will be trained to take the first draft of instructions for fixed-fee legal aid cases. BPP Law School in Manchester set up an employment law telephone advice line in association with LawWorks, to assist solicitors giving free advice. Meanwhile, the Bar Council launched ‘Friends in Law’, a scheme to recognise those chambers which provide financial support and volunteers for charities and pro bono work.last_img read more

Keep the Scottish legal profession united?

first_img‘It’s never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine,’ quipped PG Wodehouse. And it’s fair to say that a great many Scots – or Scottish solicitors at any rate – have a grievance pertaining to the nation’s embrace of ‘Tesco law’. The Law Society of Scotland’s members’ poll on alternative business structures was a virtual dead heat (see news), which hardly resolved the situation. But McGrigors’ compromise proposal – that majority ownership of a legal business must remain with solicitors, except where solicitors are in business with other regulated professionals – just might. If, of course, it is passed by members and the Scottish government agrees to amend its legislation. So why does this matter in England and Wales? Well, it will matter to the big Anglo-Scottish firms, like McGrigors and Dundas & Wilson, which made hay while the sun shined in the London market until the recession hit. Scotland’s justice ministry warned again last week that ABSs in England threaten the long-term sustainability of the Scottish legal profession unless Scottish firms are able to operate on a level playing field. That level playing field may not now be forthcoming, with Scottish firms enjoying less freedom to change their ownership structures and seek external investment. This may, however, be a price worth paying to keep the Scottish profession united.last_img read more

Super-regulator approves PC fee cut

first_imgThe Legal Services Board has called on legal sector regulators to provide more transparency regarding how the practising certificate fee is spent.The oversight regulator today confirmed it has approved next year’s fee proposals put forward by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Law Society.The Law Society Group has agreed a 17% reduction in the fee, which means individual fees will fall from £384 to £320. In total, £104.9m will be collected from PC fees – a decrease from £116.8m collected in 2013/14.In a letter written last week to the chief executives of the SRA and Law Society, LSB chief executive Chris Kenny (pictured) confirmed the board had approved the proposals.Kenny said the LSB welcomed the reduction and was pleased to see efforts to improve consultation with the profession.But he urged greater transparency on the overall cost of regulation, its allocation and sources of funding.Kenny said: ‘I would ask you to consider how you can be more explicit and seek views on how PCF money and other regulatory resources are spent and allocated, rather than the levels alone.’The LSB in particular wants formal plans from the SRA on its proposed review of fees and changes.Last month, then-Society president Nicholas Fluck noted that the Law Society Group had consulted solicitors to a greater extent than ever before.‘Hundreds of solicitors shared their views on the draft proposal for the net funding requirement and practising certificate fee in 2014-15,’ said Fluck. ‘Many respondents asked that we do all we can to minimise the group’s call on the PC fee.’last_img read more

Interview: Logan Mize talks Country Music Week, new music and Country radio

first_imgIndependent Country artist Logan Mize is building a sizeable fanbase for himself here in the UK.He was recently here for The Long Road and he’ll be back in October to play Country Music Week and embark on a headline European tour. Logan recently put out a cover of Coldplay and The Chainsmokers’ song Something Just Like This and he’s busy writing and recording new material.I caught up with him in London following The Long Road to talk about his UK fans, discuss the status of the new record and find out about his relationship with Country radio in the US…Welcome back to the UK. You’ve been here quite a few times haven’t you?Yes. I think this is my fifth time. I believe. Fourth or fifth.What keeps bringing you back?The people man. We keep showing up and they keep coming out to the shows and they seem enthusiastic about it so it makes it fun for me. If everybody was like kind of halfway into it, I wouldn’t come back. It’s great.You were at The Long Road over the weekend, which looked really packed. What was the audience like for you?The were really cool. I could tell there are some new people who hadn’t heard of us before. Maybe they were there for Cam or maybe they were there for Josh Turner but that’s what’s great about festivals. You can kind of steal other people’s fans instead of just doing your own headline shows.You’re already coming back in October for Country Music Week. Will you have time to go home between now and then?Yeah. We’ll go home. I have a show in Nebraska this Friday so we’ve got to go to Germany tomorrow night and do some press over there for our tour that starts October 18th. I’m busy in the US right up until we come back.How do you cope with such a hectic schedule? It must be confusing to figure out what country you’re in at times…Sometimes. I get tired sometimes. Lugging your crap around airports and stuff does get old. I just find a balance and make sure I have enough time at home. When I get home I totally unplug and just chill.Is there any kind of preparation you do before you come out on these tours?They’re used to be. It’s getting lesser and lesser than it used to be. I feel like now I’m always just waiting right to the last minute so I can stay in my at home headspace. Then it’s like, ‘oh I gotta. I got to fly out at 6am It’s 10pm right now. I guess I better pack a bag!’ There’s not too much preparation. We did do tour rehearsals here a couple weeks ago to work up a new show before we did the Europe tour. Other than that not too much prep.What kind of differences do you find between the crowds in the States and over here in Europe?Honestly I feel like everyone’s more in tune to what you’re doing and saying on stage. I feel like there are times in the US that I could probably get by with a lot of things because people aren’t paying as close attention until you play the song they want to hear. You got your hit song and they’re there for that. The hardcore fans are up front listening to all the album cuts. Over here I feel like everybody’s into every song, they’re into your whole set. They really want to take it in and see what you’re about, which is really cool because you spend three minutes playing the big hit song that everybody knows and you spend so much time prepping and learning all these other songs that mean something to you. I feel that they invest more in the artist over here, which is great.Credit: Logan MizeThe US is still quite chart based whereas we’re moving away from that over here and people do still enjoy an album. Have you found any particular songs that are resonating over here that surprised you?Yeah, we did a cover of Coldplay and The Chainsmokers Something Just Like This. We just did it for fun. Somebody on Twitter challenged me to do it so I said, ‘challenge accepted’. We recorded it and I didn’t really have any expectations with it. I think that’s actually doing well on radio over here, which is kind of cool. We had a good good reception to that. There’s a couple of other things that I put out recently on this project called From The Vault. That came out a couple of months ago but they were songs that were recorded in 2014 and I had a record label that basically buried them and wouldn’t let me put them out. They’re very raw recordings. They’re very different from the cleaner more edited stuff that we have done the last few times. They respond well to that, which is cool. I don’t know if anybody did in the States but we played a couple of songs off that little project yesterday and it was like, ‘oh no they know what we’re playing’. It’s cool.UK fans like to hear everything you do once they’ve discovered your music. They’ll seek out every new release to get familiar with them before seeing you live so I guess we are a little different to the US in that way where they gravitate towards singles…We do we have hardcore fans in certain regions of the States where you can go and it’s like your cult followings. It’s really strange because we’re not a mainstream act. We’ve been a very successful independent so we still have pockets of places where people are just way in. Then you go out on your regular tour dates and you can sell some tickets but they only know the single.Country radio in the US is such a hot topic for many reasons right now. What’s your relationship with it like?My relationship to Country radio is actually really good. I have a lot of friends in Country radio and all the program directors they’ve been really good to me but the way that it’s done is so backwards from how you would think it should work. It’s like, ‘OK that’s a great song but we can’t play that right now because this other thing is testing really well’. There’s a lot of songs that sound just like the other song right on top of each other and I think there’s a formula to that. That happens so often and I don’t think the best stuff is always getting played. That’s not to say I feel like I’ve been slighted by Country radio. It’s a much different way of doing things.It feels like Country radio is creating two genres of Country music – the stuff they play and then everything else…For sure because this stuff I listen to, I’m a huge country music fan, but I don’t think any of this stuff I listen to is on Country radio at all. With streaming platforms now it’s a great time for somebody to do it their own way and not have to have Country radio to do it, which really hasn’t been the case in the past unless you’re Wilco or Ryan Adams or somebody like that.Even Kelly Clarkson has waded into the debate with a video of her being released saying that hardly anyone in Country makes Country music any more and calling out the lack of women on Country radio…I think right before I left for the airport the other day I saw my wife listening to that on her phone. I was like, ‘what is that?’ and she was like, ‘oh it’s Kelly Clarkson, she’s going off about country music’.Kelly is of course the daughter-in-law of Reba McEntire and she’s dabbled in Country but always really been a pop artist. Is it interesting for you to hear that perspective from someone outside of the genre?Yeah. It’s good to hear. I think the same conversation is being had all over the place and it has been for quite a long time I’m sure. She’s got a point. It’s accurate. There’s like a lot of males, they’re all from Georgia and some of them sound a lot alike, and they just keep coming out of the woodwork. They’re everywhere. I mean can we do something a little bit different that hasn’t been done? If they were the best of the best that would be one thing but there’s some really great stuff that’s just completely not even getting played. She has some good points.It does feel like there’s a gradual shift at the moment back towards a more traditional Country sound. Does that give you hope for the genre?Yeah. I think it’s really cool that they’re doing that and that’s working. I know I’m not a traditional country artist, we’re more like a heartland rock kind of thing so I don’t know if we’ll ever fit the mould of what the industry wants, which is fine. I’m happy to stay in my own lane but I think it’s cool that the traditional stuff is making a comeback.What’s the status on a new record. Have you been working on new material?Yes. We’ve recorded six new songs and then we’re doing three more next week. We’re trucking along pretty good but we won’t have a single out off that project until right before we come over for that European leg of the tour. October 18th it starts I believe so I think the single drops that week.Will we be hearing more new material when you’re back for Country Music Week?Yeah, I’ll have one new song to play and then I don’t when the album will follow because it’s all going to get mixed and mastered and all that. We’ll have one song ready. I think it’s gonna be cool. I dig the new stuff we’re doing so it should be fun.Credit: John ShearerWhat can we expect in terms of sound? Is it a progression from what we’ve heard before or are you trying something completely new?I used the same producer for this project. We’re making in the same way we made the last one but sonically there’s just a few changes that we made. We had some synthy sounds in the last album that I thought were cool but we’ve moved away from that. We have steel guitar this time. I moved away from steel guitar in 2014 after my second record came out because it was getting so expensive to have a big band on the road. We cut down to a four piece after that album because it was costing so much money. Now we’re at the point where we’re like, ‘OK it’d be cool to bring steel back because I love it’. We can probably get away with it now so it steel’s back in the mix, which is good especially if everything is shifting back toward traditional country.What about the writing side? Are there are themes that are coming out in the new songs?The thing I always try to remember is that I take writing too seriously sometimes and I’ll be like, ‘I really need to get out what I’ve really been feeling’ and I’ll sit down to write those songs. I’ll listen to them when I’m done and I’m like, ‘where’s the part where people hear it and buy a ticket to a show?’ You’re always going back and thinking, ‘where’s the fun song that’s gonna make people smile and have fun?’ Then you go work on finding those songs and finding the balance. There’s still the fun party songs. I just moved back to Kansas and I just recorded a song called Hometown. There’s a theme of being home because I’ve been in Nashville for 12 years so there’s there’s a lot of that on there.Why did you decide to move out of Nashville after so long?You know Nashville grew a lot and my kids are in school, my son is starting first grade, and it just felt like I don’t know if this is where I wanted them to grow up. Traffic was so bad. I remember sitting in traffic for 45 minutes to take my daughter to pre-school. Then I picked her up and sat in traffic for 45 minutes again just to get home. I spent two hours of my day taking her to school. This isn’t how I grew up and she isn’t going to want to sit in a car this long. It really hasn’t affected anything professionally. It’s been good.It sounds like it’s given you plenty of inspiration?Yeah for sure. Absolutely. It’s been very inspiring. We’re building a house out in the middle of a bean field on my wife’s family’s farm right and just being out there is great. You’re trying to write Country songs in a bustling city and it’s like, ‘this isn’t gonna work’. (laughs).I’ve not made it to Nashville yet but it is referred to as a hits factory where there’s a line of publishing house churning out hits. That must make it harder for an independent artist such as yourself to forge your own path…I did the whole come down to Music Row nine to five songwriting thing. I’ve done that. I think I got my first publishing deal in 2008 and that was the thing – you come down, they book your co-writes, you come and do it every day, you write a song, make a work tape… if it’s good enough you make a demo and do that over and over and over. Some of those guys are geniuses and they go down there and they crank them out but it started to become work to me.They always say if it becomes a nine to five then it’s not fun any more…Yeah. It was like, ‘I’ve got to go and make up stuff every day? I have to do this now?’ Before all I wanted to do was write songs rather than work this crappy dump truck driving job. When you start feeling the same way about songs it just wasn’t working. It has to come organically for me to enjoy it.You can’t feel everything every day and it must be hard to write songs in that kind of process. Perhaps it’s easier if you’re writing for another artist as opposed to writing something for yourself. Is it soul crushing to be writing songs for the sake of writing them?Yeah it can be. There’s co-writers though that I love to write with it. When I go down there I’ll still go write on Music Row sometimes and it’s great but sometimes you get the wrong combination with the wrong people in a room and everyone feels that way. If you get the right people and crew together, it turns into more of a hang usually but you’ll walk away with a good song by the end of the day.You’ve got a busy time coming up but is there anything else you’re planning on getting done before Christmas?We have the rest of this Better Off Gone tour, which ends in Amsterdam. Then we go to Brisbane, Australia for Hometown Fest. I have a station wagon that’s an ’89 Chevy Caprice and I’ve done social media sourced tours in it before. I ask where fans want me to play and we’ll get in the station wagon to come play. We might do one of those later on at the end of the year towards Christmas just for fun. In the New Year hopefully we’ll have a new album to drop and then start the whole thing over again.Can we expect any Christmas songs?Oh you know what? I’ve always wanted to make a Christmas album. Like a comedy Christmas album (laughs) but that hasn’t happened yet.You have to start recording in July to get it ready for December don’t you?Yeah. My wife’s a really good singer and she’s really funny. She’s actually a lot better than me and she’s made a couple of albums. Her and I have talked about maybe doing a comedy Christmas album together sometimes. That’d be kind of fun.An alternative Garth and Trisha?Yeah absolutely (laughs).Logan Mize’s latest single Something Just Like This is out now. He will be performing at Bush Hall on Thursday 24th October 2019 as part of Country Music Week.last_img read more