Barbara took her first guitar lessons from Sister Thelma of Holy Trinity grade school in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. She learned enough chords to play her first gigs in church. When Barbara became a teenager she was enthralled with the electric guitar and got a paper route to buy her first Honer Strat copy and Peavy amp. At first it was rock and roll all the way- Eddie Van Halen, Randy Roads and the like. She formed a rock band and played throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan. Then while attending the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse, Barbara got her first taste of jazz and listened to players such as John McLaughlin, Pat Methany, and Al DiMeola. She played with the university's top jazz band for three years while continuing to do rock gigs.
To further her music education, Barbara came out to LA to attend Musicians' Institute in Hollywood. Her favorite players during that time were Scott Henderson, Mike Stern, Allan Holdsworth, and John Scofield. She graduated with honors and received an award for "Most Improved Player"- an Ibanez USA Custom guitar!!
Barbara remained in LA and played with a series of original and cover bands ranging from pop rock to middle eastern music. She was fortunate enough to play for the military overseas in such places as Greenland, Kuwait, Bahrain,Bosnia, Kosovo, Macadonia, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Japan and Korea. With her most recent group, the California Girls, Barbara has opened up for the Beach Boys and Stepin Wolf and has played numerous casinos throughout the US including Trump Plaza in Atlantic City.
Although Barbara can play a wide variety of musical styles, it's the blues she most identifies with. Somewhere along the line, she fell in love with players such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, and Bonnie Raitt. The pure emotion and passion shine throughout Barbara's playing. Now finally, Barbara has used her cumulated experiences and musical talents to produce her first solo cd entitled "Human Needs". Her soulful and expressive guitar playing and singing refect her diverse influences. The cd displays her talents as a songwriter and engineer. It also features her husband, Danny Leoni, playing solid bass grooves,and her brother in law, Jerry Leoni on drums. Annie Bertucci adds excellent background vocals and Jimmy Britton plays some amazing keys! "Human Needs" is a great start for Barbara- watch for more amazing things from her in the future!!