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'The stars are aligned'

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

'The stars are aligned' Local songwriter inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame

Livingston Parish News : Aug 22, 2018

"You need to record your songs, dad, because if you don’t, they’re just going to sit in your book."

Music is life for Lucas Spinosa.

Recently, that life was awarded one of the state’s most prestigious honors for musicians.

Spinosa, a longtime resident of Watson, was inducted into the exclusive Louisiana Music

Hall of Fame as a songwriter on Sunday, Aug. 19, becoming the first inductee to join the

ranks of famous musicians purely for his songwriting skills.

Spinosa began earning his reputation as a top-notch musician as a child, winning his first

talent contest as a 10-year-old fourth grader. Since then, he’s been a member or leader of

some of the area’s most popular bands and performed with some of the biggest names in

the industry, including Melanie of “Brand New Key” fame and Brook Benton, the voice

behind the iconic “Rainy Night in Georgia.”

“It was all great experience,” said Spinosa, who also worked as a studio musician at the

world-famous Studio in the Country, where one of his most memorable moments in the

music business occurred.

“Stevie Wonder was recording his ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ while I was there,” he said. “I

sat next to him at the piano in disbelief. Every once in a while I had to pinch myself to

make sure it wasn’t a dream.”

Spinosa was also a studio musician at Bluff Road Studios, where he worked under Harold

Cowart, the Bee Gees’ bassist, from whom he “learned a great deal.”

A keyboard player with a remarkable talent for songwriting, Spinosa is part of an elite

group of musicians in the greater Baton Rouge area that have made their livelihood solely

through music.

One notable stop along the way was playing keyboard with the Inn Crowd, the house band

for several years at the nightclub located inside the old Bellemont Inn. During the band’s

tenure at the Bellemont, the nightclub was standing-room only, night after night.

Later, Spinosa would form what had been — until now — his most successful musical

venture, Lucas Spinosa and Southern Star.

Strictly a country band performing original tunes written by the talented keyboardist,

Southern Star earned a sponsorship from Coors Brewery and toured the nation with the

beermaker’s Silver Bullet Tour.

During the tour, Spinosa shared the stage with Martina McBride and Tracy Lawrence.

The association with Coors always led to radio interviews in the cities where the tour took

them, and inevitably, deejays would ask the same question: How do you write all those


“My answer was always, ‘I’m scared to death to analyze my songwriting because I’m afraid

I won’t be able to write anymore if I do,’” Spinosa says.

After tiring of the grind of constant touring, the Baton Rouge native retired from performing

live, though he continued to write songs.

One night, while Spinosa was sitting at the baby grand piano his father gave him, his

daughter Lucia tried to tell him he needed to go back to his roots, back to live


“‘Dad, it’s time for you to start playing again,’” Spinosa said his daughter told him. “I told

her I never stopped – I’m sitting here at my piano and writing.”

“She said, ‘No, it’s time for you to start playing live again,’” he recalled. “‘You need to

record your songs, dad, because if you don’t, they’re just going to sit in your book.’”

Spinosa showed the “book” she was talking about — a thick notebook filled with the lyrics

to well over 100 songs, but very little of the melodies. Those, he said, are kept in his mind.

Along the winding musical path, he performed with the Buddy Roy Band, and it was during

that time that he came to know current bandmate Bryan Romano, Buddy’s son.

Romano, as the front man for Rougon, had been after Spinosa to come out and perform

with his band on numerous occasions, but Lucas kept putting him off, explaining that he

was retired.

But one evening, after his talk with Lucia, Romano called and Spinosa surprised him.

“Where is it?” he asked. Then he packed up his equipment and headed out.

That was the spark that rekindled his love of performing — and it gave him an outlet for his

original music.

“Now I’m 100 percent into it,” Spinosa said.

Rougon recently released a CD of his originals, “Set Me Free,” and is almost done with


“Everybody is really connecting with the songs, and the CD’s really going well,” Spinosa

said. “Now so many things are happening. We’re getting calls from radio stations, we’re

getting lots of gigs, thanks to our new manager, Mike David, and I’m really enjoying the


The new CD is being recorded at Brian Brignac’s Mon Ami Studio, formerly known as The

Friendly Fish.

Working with band members Steve Schittone on bass, drummer Randy Carpenter and

Romano on guitar, saxophone and “knocking it out of the park” on vocals, Spinosa is

thrilled with the results.

“This next CD is going to be mixed and mastered by Grammy-winner Tony Daigle,” he

said, adding that none of what’s happening in his career would be possible without the

support of his wife Terri and daughters Mandy, Ally and, of course, Lucia. “I don’t know what I’d do without them,” Spinosa said, adding he’s excited about what’s ahead for the band.

“I think great things are coming up for us,” he said. “I’ll never turn away from my music


“We couldn’t ask for more…Everything is falling into place. The stars are aligned.”

Writer: Tommy Comeaux

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