40 acres returned from trip to Tennessee looking for experience

ST. MARIS. One local group travels to and from Nashville with great success.

St. Marys-based country music band 40 Acre, fronted by singer/guitarist Josh Barnes, recently returned from a short tour of Tennessee bars.

“It was successful,” Barnes said. “We always measure success by whether we received a response and were asked to respond, so that’s important to us. It was fun and we met a lot of cool people. We have cool photos and stuff like that. We’ve gotten better as a group and it’s a win-win for everyone. We were happy to do it and it was a blast.”

40 Acre is on Facebook at facebook.com/jjmzbandk and on Instagram. In addition to Barnes on vocals and acoustics, Justin McBride plays lead guitar, Luke Yale on bass and Jody Poff on drums.

Although the band, once called the Jojo McZunk Band, has humble beginnings and is making strides, it has been in no hurry to abandon the Lima area or its country style of performing.

“We’ve been together since the fall of 2017 and we’ve been playing a lot of the top 40 country hits that people know,” Barnes said. “We play both Luke Bryan and Luke Combs novelties, as well as Alan Jackson, Hank Williams Jr. and Garth Brooks. We’re a four-piece band and we’ve been playing Oglaze/Mercer/Allen County for a while now.”

Barnes said the band began playing together at the Wayne Street United Methodist Church in St. Mary’s.

“We still do it even today,” he said. “However, we wanted to play more and more and we are really good at what we do. We all love country music too.”

Barnes said that although the group was not yet ready to expand, the members still decided to take a chance.

“It was pretty cool,” Barnes said. “Our drummer, Jody, orders a lot and sends hundreds of emails and you can get one back. We happened to get one in Nashville on a Sunday night called the 404 Bar and so we tried to spend a weekend out of it. From there we were connected to a place in Chattanooga called Whiskey Cowgirl and from there we were booked into Tootsie. That’s how it worked.”

But even with this taste of the world outside of western Ohio, 40 Acre still likes to stay true to its roots.

“We like to bring some light into life,” Barnes said. “We have no intention of doing big gigs far away or anything like that. We just love Allen, Mercer, Oglaise and Hardin and the surrounding counties. We hoped to gain the confidence of small town musicians so that they could perform on fairly large stages. That’s all we set out to achieve and I think we’ve done it.”

This does not mean that 40 Acre is slowing down at all.

“We have four festivals planned for this summer,” Barnes said. “We play in Columbus on High Street at a place called Bristol Republic in February. We have a busy schedule thanks to places like Zinum and 318 in Lima. We like to play covers rather than original stuff because we want people to sing along, dance and have a good time to the music they know.”

Contact Jacob Espinoza at 567-242-0399.

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