Most Southern Gospel fans became familiar with Gordon Mote when he joined the Gaither Homecoming tour after the death of Anthony Burger in 2006, but Mote had been playing on recording sessions and touring with some of Country music’s biggest stars for many years prior to joining Gaither’s entourage. Blind from birth, Gordon Mote’s piano skills were discovered when he sat down one Thanksgiving and played “Jesus Loves Me” with two hands. His parents, recognizing his talent, encouraged him to pursue music. Fast forward to earning a degree at Belmont University plus two days, and he was a member of Country legend Lee Greenwood’s band.
Love, Love, Love released a couple of weeks ago and covers a range of styles that fans of Southern Gospel, Country, and light Christian pop should enjoy. The title track tells a compelling story of a minister who delivered a three-word sermon and the reactions of his congregation. “Love Is The Golden Rule” was released in 2017 by both Mark Lowry and Michael English, but Mote’s version is my favorite of the three. I like the sudden shift from the orchestral strings on the intro to a modern sound. That, plus the Voices Of Lee providing background vocals puts Mote’s rendition over the top.
A quirky fun factor kicks in on “Let The Ordinary Make You Happy.” “Grace Became Amazing” features a great lyric written by Helga Kaefer, Jeff Baumgardner, and Wayne Haun. “Set Your House In Order” includes an appearance by the Oak Ridge Boys with step out lines for Richard Sterban and some fancy piano licks. “Live Forgiven” has a excellent lyric and Mote’s vocals are perfect, but I found the “epic” drums on this arrangement distracting.
“Time To Pray” is a rollicking piano-driven arrangement with a tongue-in-cheek delivery. “Remember For Me” has a compelling lyric. “Just Believe” is in a quirky vein similar to “Let The Ordinary Make You Happy.”
The next three songs are cover versions of songs previously recorded by other artists. I was surprised by the dramatic intro to “His Strength Is Perfect,” but then pleased to hear it ease back down to a simple piano accompaniment before the vocal entered. “Love Crusade” may not be one of the most cherished songs recorded by Michael W. Smith, but the inclusion of a rap section makes it one of Smith’s most unique performances. I am pleased to report that Mote delivers the rap, and while he won’t be challenging TobyMac in that genre any time soon, this adds yet another unique element to Love Love Love. I wasn’t expecting to hear a banjo in the mix. Mote also covers The Impressions’ 1965 classic “People Get Ready” (Curtis Mayfield) assisted by Cana’s Voice. They pull out all the stops toward the end, but don’t quite match the intensity of NewSong’s 1994 version.
Love Love Love concludes with “Invitation (Won’t You Come), which, as the title implies, could be used for an altar call.
With thirteen tracks, Love Love Love gives you your money’s worth in a time when some record labels are looking to reduce recordings to less than standard minimum ten tracks. Hearing thirteen tracks in a row may mean you’ll forget a couple of these songs after the first pass, but you should begin to appreciate the range of quality Mote delivers on repeat listens. The more unique tracks like “Let The Ordinary Make You Happy,” “Just Believe,” and “Love Crusade” may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed them. These tracks keep Love Love Love from sounding stale and provide a nice contrast to the more serious tracks.
Producers: Gordon Mote, Phil Johnson, Wayne Haun
Label: New Haven Records
Song Titles: Love, Love, Love; Love Is The Golden Rule (featuring Voices of Lee); Let The Ordinary Make You Happy; Grace Became Amazing; Set Your House In Order (featuring the Oak Ridge Boys); Live Forgiven; Time To Pray; Remember For Me; Just Believe; His Strength Is Perfect; Love Crusade; People Get Ready; Invitation (Won’t You Come).
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)