• Bryon Harris

Barbara Santora – ‘That’s Just the Way It Goes’

Review by Matt Wong

“That’s Just the Way It Goes”, written by John Michael O’Leary, from the EP, Timeless, by Barbara Santora, begins with a count off on ride cymbal, followed by the full ensemble entering for the intro. As the piano weaves together a melodic motif, and the bass provides bottom support, Santora begins to slip in vocal improvisation to set the stage for the first verse. As listeners progress through the song, they will notice the song employs a consistent arrangement to put the spotlight on Santora’s sultry, earth-toned vocals and the song's melancholy and moving melody.

"That's just the way it goes.

Fate makes an inside bet, trump is already set.

It’s fait accompli I suppose"

The arrangement, while minimal, does not lack fire; it pushes and pulls to elicit an emotional response from the listener. Listener’s will particularly appreciate the dialogue between the vocals and the piano, the latter always reacting between phrases to support and enhance the melody. After the song goes through the form once, listeners are presented with a beautiful and mesmerizing, flowing piano solo. Following the solo, the song goes through the form once again, and ends with a touch of delicate vocal improvisation.

Lyrically, the song describes love and loss. "Passion, do you miss me? And the way we used to fly?" The song explores fate and the feeling of never having a real chance at love. "Truth, you make me wonder. Should I laugh or should I cry? Passion, how I miss you...and the way we used to fly."

“That’s Just the Way It Goes” is an example of intelligent and sophisticated, yet creative and natural, music making. Santora’s skills as a vocalist shine throughout with her unique and appealing vocal sound. Her expressive and mesmerizing vocal performance displays a great sense of emotional phrasing. The song’s performance serves as the perfect vehicle to convey the story and intention behind John Michael O’Leary's song. Performed by a top notch ensemble and vocalist, this song will leave listeners appreciative of the power of a well written melody, excellent musicianship, and expressive singing.

For more information on Barbara Santora, please visit her website.

Stream on Spotify.


About Barbara Santora

Barbara Santora began a stage career at age 15 with Little Theatre Productions. By 17 she was a touring puppeteer and the opening act for Ferrante and Teicher in school and university venues. A demanding performance schedule sometimes required appearances in three states a day. At 19, Barbara enrolled in formal studies of music, theater, and dance at Indiana University. 

Although she had been steeped in classical music forms from childhood, jazz and blues fanned her inner fire as an entertainer coming of age. When an offer came to perform in Las Vegas, she was "all in." She relocated to Nevada and, over the next 14 years, captivated audiences with inspired interpretations of jazz standards, show tunes, and popular songs across genres.

Barbara became known not only for her pure voice and exceptional, five-octave range, but for her ability to connect with audiences emotionally and draw them into the music. A reputation for professionalism found her sharing the spotlight with such talents as Frank Sinatra Jr. and Billy Preston. Soon after accepting an offer to open for Liberace, Barbara, like the rest of the world, was stunned when the great showman died unexpectedly, a casualty of the AIDS epidemic. 

She returned to the Midwest and, in collaboration with other jazz musicians, continued to perform in clubs and private venues. When the USO came calling, Barbara answered and joined the show, traveling the globe for three years as a featured entertainer, lifting the spirits of our men and women in uniform.

Back at home, Barbara formed "Jazzin," her own ensemble anchored by pianist Ed Dansereau, formerly with the Young Rascals. Ed's untimely death in 2015 was followed by a personal mishap that crushed Barbara's ankle and forced a hiatus in her performance schedule. 

Now, following successful physical therapy, Barbara is again stepping onto the stage to the delight of audiences. She and her husband, Tony, are residents of Newburgh, Indiana. Her duo, Side by Side, with pianist/singer/composerJohn Michael O'Leary, brings jazz and timeless classics with a flair for love & laughter to audiences of all ages.


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