Lucas John’s songwriting journey began at age 3, when his delayed speech led his parents to enroll him in a music class.
Now 29, the Williamsburg native and frequent local performer is on a national tour with Frank Ray, an emerging country music star with Hispanic roots who has helped diversify the genre through his bilingual lyrics.
John — whose given name is Lucas Caccetta — is also releasing his own more rock-based songs. In October, he dropped his latest original single, “Waste Time,” part of a four-song record scheduled for completion by year’s end.
“I’m so grateful for everything that is happening,” he said. “It’s such an honor to play with Frank, and then it’s been a really cool process to take the sounds of my heart, sculpt them into songs and show people who I am.”
John, a Walsingham Academy graduate and a former bartender at Precarious Beer Project, immediately took to music during his early childhood class at Williamsburg United Methodist Church, said his parents, John and Kelly Caccetta. He picked up the guitar at age 12.
“A switch went off pretty immediately for Luke with music,” said his father, John Caccetta. “He has worked incredibly hard, and that’s taking him to amazing places.” As for that one-time speech delay, Caccetta jokes that his son won’t stop talking now.
John was in numerous theater productions at Walsingham, where he credits music teacher Teresa Yoder with nurturing his talents. He also performed in shows at StageLights Theatre, William & Mary and the Virginia Stage Co., occasionally taking the stage with his younger brother, Trevor, who acted and played the drums.
At 15, John played with his high school band at Williamsburg’s First Night celebration. At 16, he was hired as a singer and guitarist for shows at Busch Gardens. He worked at the park through high school, amassing thousands of hours of onstage experience.
A recording industry major at Middle Tennessee State University, John performed with the area’s many country musicians as a student and after graduation. He has played at the Grand Ole Opry and opened for major acts such as Lady A, Sam Hunt, Chris Young and Aaron Tippin.
“I’m a rock/punk guy at heart, but country has paid the bills,” he said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic stalled John’s progress in Nashville, he returned to Virginia, continued writing music and had surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cords. Since then, he has booked regular solo and group gigs at breweries and other venues around the state.
John will spend at least the next two months singing and playing guitar with Ray, a Nashville-based artist and close friend. They met at a music festival in 2017.
Ray’s tour started in Colorado and has stops in Florida, Kentucky, California, Indiana, Georgia and Ohio. Ray typically sets aside time during each show for John to take the lead on stage, mainly to play cover tunes but possibly to break out “Waste Time” on occasion.
Before leaving on tour, John was busy working on his record, “Chapters,” an autobiographical peek at his path from Williamsburg to Nashville and relationships along the way. A big fan of 1980s rock and Bruce Springsteen in particular, he wrote three of the songs himself and collaborated with two fellow musicians on the fourth.
“He’s very honest in drawing from his personal experiences,” his father said. “He’s a great storyteller.”
While John is away from parents, brother and girlfriend Arianna Hall, a singer, actress and dancer at Busch Gardens, he keeps his Virginia roots close to his heart — literally.
“The rest of Frank’s band is from Texas, so I try to wear T-shirts and other gear from Virginia on stage as much as possible,” he said. “I have a Precarious Beer shirt, and I’m trying to get a (757) shirt made. I’m very proud of where I come from.”
Follow Lucas John on Instagram at @lucasjohnmusic or on Facebook at Lucas John Music. John’s latest single, “Waste Time,” is available on Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited and YouTube.
Alison Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org