Doin’ Dunmore: Lazar Returning to Roots for Holiday Season 

By Steve Svetovich

Local music product Alyssa Lazar’s earliest gigs as a teenager included a few Dunmore spots.

And with a new release of her album, “Hopeless Romanticism,” Alyssa will be returning to one of her old stops, Crotti’s on Ash, just a few blocks up the street from Dunmore’s Schautz Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 26. She will be performing from 8 to 10 p.m.

Daughter of Mark and Maureen Lazar, Alyssa, 22, is home on a holiday visit. She has spent her past four plus years in Nashville, Tennessee, where she recently received a bachelor of arts degree. in commercial music with an emphasis in writing from the Belmont School of Music in Nashville. 

Alyssa embraces a unique set of genres on her new 7-song EP. She wrote all the songs and music.

The album, released this past Nov. 17, mixes pop and rock sounds with elements from other eras. The EP is available on ITunes and Amazon and can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. 

Alyssa plays guitar, but piano is her primary musical instrument. Her favorite artists, who she plays when performing, include Elton John, Lady Gaga and Billy Joel.

Her rendition of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” is scintillating. And likely to be heard at Crotti’s on Ash the day after Christmas.

Alyssa describes her music as piano-influenced pop/rock. Her fans often brand her shows as “Elton John meets Lady Gaga.”

Alyssa started performing at the tender age of four. 

By the time she was 15, Alyssa was performing in local venues, bars and restaurants throughout Northeast PA. Crotti’s on Ash, Andy Gavin’s in Green Ridge, and LaCucina in Dunmore were among her regular spots for performances. Others included the V-Spot, Russell’s Restaurant, Duffy’s Coffee House, Sydney’s Lounge and the old McNally’s in Green Ridge. 

Now she performs regular gigs in Nashville, including the 5 Spot where Lady Gaga performed while touring.

Alyssa’s new EP, includes two instrumental interludes.

“Hopeless Romanticism” combines today’s pop rock sound, the intricacy of 1970’s rock, with hints inspired by the music of the romantic era. It is riddled with chorale-like background vocals, piano and live strings performed by Jonathan Yudkin.

Yudkin has performed on albums of artists such as Taylor Swift and Bon Jovi.

Alyssa thoroughly enjoys song writing as much as playing piano and guitar. “This is the sound I was looking for with this EP,” she said. “It incorporates every musical aesthetic that I love the most and feels like the embodiment of who I was meant to be as an artist. I always loved classical and soundtrack music, but this is made to fit the pop/rock genre of today. 

“The EP takes what are true experiences of those close to me or even the imagination of a true experience and romanticizes it.

“Some of the songs are very raw and vulnerable.

“Each song is inspired by a different mood or event that may have happened in the romantic era of the 1800’s and early 1900’s. There is an emphasis on art and romance. There are several instrumental interludes.”

Alyssa said she performs two or three nights a week in Nashville. “Being discovered is so different now,” she said. “It happens, but you need to grow and build a following. It’s not a thing that happens a lot, but it does. 

“I focus on the places and venues where I am able to play my music and grow on my own. I don’t necessarily look for a break, but look to grow and grow as a musical artist and songwriter.”

The talented musical artist said she attended the Nashville Country Music Awards in 2017 and 2018. She even met country music legend Keith Urban. “He was very nice and had a good sense of humor. He even took the time to ask me about my career.”

You can find Alyssa’s new EP on most streaming platforms. She will be performing her songs from the EP along with other originals and classics during her appearance at Crotti’s on Ash the night after Christmas. 

Sing Us a Song She’s the Piano Girl…

Doin' Dunmore - Alyssa Lazar on pianoBy Steve Svetovich

The words to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” echoed into the streets of Pinebrook corners right up the road from Dunmore’s Schautz Stadium.

As you got closer to Crotti’s on Ash, a popular bar-restaurant on Pinebrook corners, you could hear the beautiful booming voice of a very young lady.  The words of the song seemed to resonate and have meaning to the impressive, attractive teen who was seen playing piano and singing the Billy Joel classic.

And then you looked a little closer and saw the multi talented Alyssa Lazar, only 19, unassuming in some ways but with a maturity in the music world beyond her years. The world is her oyster.

Daughter of Mark and Maureen Lazar, Alyssa is in town for the summer playing her solo gigs at spots such as Crotti’s on Ash, Andy Gavin’s in Green Ridge, McNally’s in Green Ridge, and possibly Russell’s in Scranton’s hill section, the Oak Street Express in Taylor and LaCucina in Dunmore.

But the young talent, who also plays guitar and ukulele, has taken her star to Nashville where she recently completed her freshman year at Belmont University. She studies commercial music.

Doin' Dunmore - Alyssa Lazar“I love being in Nashville,” she said. “It’s a crazy shift. It really is a big city with a small town feel. Everything is about music there. In Nashville, almost the whole population is into music.

“I want to be around people who are passionate about the same thing as me. In Nashville, I am with people who love music all the time.”

Alyssa, well spoken and articulate, has a vision. “In the big scheme,” she said, “I want to bring the old rock n’ roll past back into music in a really big way. That’s what brought me to Nashville. I want to bring that passion back into music.

“I love the old music from the 50’s through the 80’s. I grew up listening to that music thanks to my parents. My only goal is to be a musician and singer-song writer.”

Alyssa’s dad Mark was born and raised in Dunmore. He graduated from Dunmore High School in 1982. “He is a Dunmore guy all the way,” she said.

Her mom was born and raised in North Scranton. She can often been seen cheering Alyssa on at various gigs.  Both her parents are very supportive, attending all of her local gigs.

Alyssa, herself, is a 2017 graduate of Abington Heights. She started singing at age four, took up piano at age nine from Cathy Shefski at The Music Studio, took up guitar at age 12 at Gallucci’s in downtown Scranton and started performing gigs at 14.

Her first gig was at downtown Scranton’s “First Night.” Shortly after, she was performing as a young teen at the old Damon’s Restaurant in Clarks Summit and Andy Gavin’s in Green Ridge.

Her first singing performance was at age six when she opened up her dance recital. She also sang at Abington Heights sports events and Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees and RailRiders baseball games. She sang the national anthem at the Little League World Series in Williamsport twice and at Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders games every year since she was 13.

Doin' Dunmore - Alyssa Lazar on guitarAlyssa came out with her own CD last year. It’s called “570.” The CD title has great meaning to the spirited teen. “It’s named after our area code, because they are all stories about events and people from my hometown.”

Alyssa will have another CD coming out with all new music this July.

She has upcoming gigs June 8, June 23 and July 20 at Crotti’s on Ash in the Petersburg section of Scranton; July 6 and August 4 at Andy Gavin’s in Green Ridge; and July 28 before a RailRiders game at PNC Field, Moosic. There are pending gigs this summer at Russell’s in East Scranton, Oak Street Express in Taylor and LaCucina in Dunmore.

She is in town performing locally till late August and then will return to Nashville to begin  her sophomore year of college.

Her music is typically 50’s to 80’s. Her favorite artists are Billy Joel, Elton John, Elvis Presley, The Eagles, Lady Gaga, Stevie Nicks, The Rolling Stones, among other classic rock artists. Alyssa also loves and sings country music. Her favorite is Martina McBride. “She was my first CD and my first concert. I love her. “

Alyssa’s musical performances are unique in nature. As a soloist, she often starts a gig singing rock classics and playing piano before switching to guitar.

Alyssa can be found on social media under: Facebook – Alyssa Lazar Music. Instagram – alyssalazar – “Alyssa Lazar” on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube and all other music sharing websites.

The words to Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobbie McGee ” were blaring out of the front entrance at Crotti’s on Ash. The sounds were heard in the air of night on Petersburg corners. It was a unique voice and people were gazing through the windows at a teenager singing and smiling to the crowd. The stars outside were bright and inside a little star was forming.