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'Proud Ohio girl' Lauren Mascitti plays classic country at rare hometown show in Hartville

The Repository logo The Repository 10/2/2021 Ed Balint, The Repository
Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender. © Ed Balint Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender.

HARTVILLE – A woman shopping at the Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market on Friday afternoon had been at the car show when her ears pricked to the strains of smooth, rich and soulful country music vocals.

Walking closer and closer until she was near the audience, the Garrettsville resident said she was thrilled to learn the voice was coming from Stark County native and 2020 "American Idol" contender Lauren Mascitti.

Mascitti was commanding the stage while singing original material and country music classics by Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and other legends.

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The flea market shopper was one of many Mascitti fans who gathered on a gloriously sunny early October afternoon during the Hartville Americana event, which continued Saturday at 1289 Edison St. NW in Hartville.

Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender. © Ed Balint Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender.

Slotted to perform for three hours, Mascitti sang proficiently and vibrantly, interspersing comments in between songs, including callouts to band members and family members and even a former fellow student at Stark State College, where she received her nursing degree in 2013.

Mascitti strummed a guitar, her vocals authentically country, powerful and tender.

Mascitti, who graduated from Louisville High, has written or performed with Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Larry Gatlin, Pam Tillis, Shawn Camp, Matraca Berg, Delbert McClinton, Gary Nicholson and others.

Mascitti's songs include, "God Made A Woman," "All the Words He Never Said," "Hello Sad Eyes," "Ballad of a Broken Heart," "The Best of Me," "It's Never Just a Song" and "Still Standing."

Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender. © Ed Balint Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender.

At a rare Stark County performance for Mascitti, her setlist included "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynette; "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" by Crystal Gale; and "Coat of Many Colors" by Dolly Parton.

Mascitti's own songs included "God Made a Woman," which impressed the judges when she performed it on "American Idol" last year. She was on the cusp of making the top 20 on the popular television show.

The song reached No. 4 on iTune's country album chart and received play on country radio. 

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Mascitti, who regularly posts her own acoustic performances of country music classics on Facebook and Instagram, released the album, "God Made a Woman" in January 2020.

The album was chosen as one of 2020's best by The New York Times. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, halted Mascitti's plans to promote the album with live performances.

'Something special'

Robert E. Jones, 87, said he and his wife, Velma Jones, 90, both of Louisville, made a point to be at Friday's concert.

"My wife voted for her so much on 'American Idol,'" he said while Mascitti performed on stage. "We wanted her to win."

"We knew when we first saw her that she would be something special," Jones said.

Of her homecoming performance, he said, "It's a big deal." 

Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender. © Ed Balint Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender.

'Proud Louisville Leopard'

During a quick break at Friday's concert, Mascitti discussed her hometown visit, nursing work, faith in God and her plans for new music.

"It is my first time performing at home in a while and it warms my heart so much," she said from the side of the stage, above the music played by her supporting band. "I used to come to the Hartville Flea Market with my nana like every other weekend."

During her visit home for a few days, Mascitti said it's "been great just kind of like walking around Canton and Louisville and my old stomping grounds, and I'm a very proud Louisville Leopard and proud Ohio girl, and this is really an honor for me to be back."

Nursing work during pandemic

Mascitti said her stay in Stark County was brief because she had to return to her nursing job at TriStar Horizon Medical Center outside Nashville, a profession she said continues to give her perspective on life.

"The humanity, it's opened my eyes so much from the time that I was growing up, and of course as you get older and become an adult, there's a lot of things about the world that your eyes are opened up to," she said. "But I've seen so much tragedy and I've seen so many miracles and just everything I've witnessed through all of that, especially this last year — it definitely colors everything I do."

Asked about her faith in God and Christ, Mascitti said it continues to be a "huge part of me and what I believe and what I do, and everything I do I want to be centered around the Lord."

Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender. © Ed Balint Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender.

Recording new music

Mascitti was visibly excited while mentioning her upcoming music plans, including an Oct. 9 concert at The Sutler Saloon in Nashville.

"I got together with a couple of girlfriends of mine and we're doing a 'Tribute to the Trio,' which was Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt," she said. "I get to be Linda Ronstadt and that will be really, really fun."

And "I'm getting back in the studio here in the next week or two and working on the new record."

Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender. © Ed Balint Stark County native Lauren Mascitti gave a rare hometown concert on Friday afternoon at Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market. Mascitti works as a nurse in Tennessee and continues to record music. Mascitti is a former "American Idol" contender.

'Like a part of her family'

Brenda Crislip, 58, of Louisville, was thrilled to meet Mascitti at the show and get a picture taken with her.

"She's amazing," Crislip said. "From the first time we heard her sing, she blew me away."

Blondie Rice, 74, of Canton, said Mascitti was personable and engaging when they chatted briefly.

"It's just like we're her friends," Rice said. "Just like a part of her family."

Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and ebalint@gannett.com

On Twitter @ebalintREP

This article originally appeared on The Repository: 'Proud Ohio girl' Lauren Mascitti plays classic country at rare hometown show in Hartville

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