Prime Cuts: Love, Love, Love, Grace Became Amazing, Won't You Come
Overall Grade: 5/5
There's only one foolproof way to inoculate against an unfavourable review: good songs. It doesn't really matter how luminous the songwriters are or how prominent the duet partners are, it still comes down to the songs. Gordon Mote knows this. Instead of bulking up the record with fluff, the 13 tracks here are above the bar of excellence. These songs demonstrate both breadth and depth. Instead of just restricting himself to a particular genre or tempo, the breadth of diversity here is stunning. Not only are there the standard fares of ballads and beat-driven burners, but there's even a rap piece ("Love Crusade")! Tastefully done without any faux pas, this album really shows Mote can colour beyond the boundaries. But the album also shows depth. Though "love" is a theme not novel to music, Mote still has ways of presenting both the love of God and our love for others in ways that cathartic and meaningful.
Though Mote is a household name among Gospel music fans, he has also made his name in country music. After graduating, Lee Greenwood asked Mote to join his band. Since then, he has toured with artists such as Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker, Porter Wagoner, the Gaither Vocal Band, and the Gaither Homecoming Tour. In 2001, when a pianist was needed for Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" recording, Mote was recommended. After that, he became a very sought-after studio musician, playing on numerous country and gospel artist's albums, including hit records by Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Joe Nichols, Dan+Shay and many others.
Mote has learnt well from his work within country music. Borrowing the genre's excellent use of stories, the title cut and current single "Love, Love, Love" is a heart tugging narrative song with a killer melody. "Killer" is an understatement, as this song will silence all naysayers that modern songs are devoid of memorable tunes. The theme of love gets further exposition with "Love is the Golden Rule," a track that has been covered by Michael English. Mote's version is a tad less bombastic and less cluttered, making the song rest easier on the ears. In a society that is self-servicing and ungrateful, the peppy "Let the Ordinary Make You Happy" is a breath of fresh air.
"Grace Became Amazing" is simply sublime. A first person narrative ballad about how a man met Christ; this song is both sincere and heartfelt. Any song that speaks of grace in the hands of Mote will get the Midas touch. Featuring only Mote on piano, "Won't You Come" is a gentle invitation to drink from the Living Waters. Mote then moves into those grand choir-directed explosive worship moments with "His Strength is Perfect" before he does a Jason Mraz twist on us with "Just Believe." With a delightful lighthearted pop beat, "Just Believe" recounts how faith ought ton be our default response in every opportunity God places our way.
The Oak Ridge Boys add their four-part harmony to "Set Your House in Order," a track based on the Biblical encounter of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah. The songs, in short, are so good that each deserves to a stand alone single. Melodious memorable and lyrically uplifting and soul-stirring: these are the songs that will stand the test of time. The title track and "Grace Became Amazing" are by themselves so good that you can't help but set them on repeat.