MojoFlo, Doc Robinson guitarist takes the reins on second full-length, 'Boomerang'

George Barrie has played guitar in long-running Columbus soul-funk band MojoFlo for 11 years now, but all along the way Barrie has been writing his own songs. Even before MojoFlo, when he was studying music at Capital University, the singer and guitarist played occasional solo gigs, building on his time fronting the band Green Means Go at Dublin Coffman High School.

But it wasn't until 2015 that he released the self-titled George Barrie Band EP, followed by debut album Keep Dreaming in 2016. “With this project I really could do whatever I want,” Barrie said. “It's my name, right?”

For Barrie's follow-up, the musician wanted to build on the bluesy, funk-inflected rock sound he established with core bandmates Jake Levy (drums) and Jeff Bass (bass) by adding a horn section and a female background singer, Jenny Flory, all of which gives new album Boomerang a more soulful sound.

“I thought it might be more of a, ‘Hey, this song will have some horns, and a few songs we'll have Jenny sing,' but once you start messing around in the studio, everything sounds better. Even if it's just one little section that has a horn part, it's immediately a level up,” Barrie said. “I had to put them on every single song.”

Barrie and his band will celebrate the new album with a release show at Woodlands Tavern on Friday, May 3; CDs will be available at the show, with a vinyl version of the record coming at a later date.

Boomerang's title track chronicles the on-again/off-again nature of some relationships, but in general, the album dwells more on the high notes of life than the sour ones. “I'm just a positive dude,” Barrie said. “I think it's a reflection of my life outlook.”

The new songs were mostly recorded at Barrie's Worthington home studio the Shred Shed (where he also worked with Doc Robinson, another local act that features Barrie's guitar playing), though not every tune came as quickly as others. Barrie had the hook for “Savor the Moment” sitting around for years before finally landing on some verses, whereas “I Don't Know Why” seemed to emerge from his subconscious fully formed.

“I was coming back from a show in Athens, just driving home,” he said. “It was Grateful Dead hour, and for some reason [‘I Don't Know Why'] came out, and I basically had the song done by the time I got home.”

Barrie's gears are already in motion as he thinks about the next album, which could take inspiration from bluesman Gary Clark, Jr. and the Black Keys, or it could take a dance-rock turn. “All the time I hear something and I'm like, ‘I want to do that,'” Barrie said. “It could be something totally off the wall, something I don't do at all.”