Celebrated Academy of Country Music Award-winning artist Gordon Mote has just released his new album Love, Love, Love. This new album ontinues to prove why Gordon is one of Nashville's premier singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists. More than an extraordinary performer, Gordon has the amazing ability to communicate God's mercy and love with those both inside and outside the doors of the church.
As with his previous releases, the songs on Love, Love, Love span the stylistic gamut from traditional Southern Gospel to Country to accessible pop. Nonetheless, the album is unified by Gordon's warm voice, stellar lyrics, and signature piano prowess.
Q: Thanks Gordon for doing this interview with us. Congratulations on the release of your new album, when and how was this album birthed?
Well you are very welcome and it's my pleasure to do the interview. I guess, you know, we knew it was time to make a new album after the Hymns record, and I'm always listening for new songs everyday if it's something that hits me just right, or if it's something I feel like I would want to sing, or if I'm writing with somebody and I feel like that's something we should consider, even years down the road, I kind of have a folder on my computer that I keep songs in, whether it might be for me or a song that I'm producing for somebody. But anyway, it took us, you know, this album, probably two and a half or three years in the making. Because we had done a concept album, the Hymns and Songs of Inspiration.
Just to give you an example, the first single, "Love Love Love" was a song that I heard while we were doing the "All Things New" album and I knew that I loved it. I didn't feel like it fit the "All Things New" project, so I've had that song on hold for about five years. When we started doing this record, I hoped that it would fit. As we went and there was so much negativity in the media, and that's kind of all we heard and saw and talked about, and as I came across other songs about love and how we should love each other and how important loving each other is, especially in the church, the album really started to take shape then.
I wasn't looking to do a concept album at first, and I wouldn't call this a total concept record, but there are several songs that have to do with love, and I think now more than ever, we need to love our friends, our neighbors, and love those unlovable people because that's the quickest way, I feel, to lead someone to Christ.
Q: What kind of songs were you looking for when you were making this album?
I'm always looking for something that I believe and if I'm writing, sometimes if I write a song and it may not be for me, I know if I write it in many instances, I need to sing it. Not always, but sometimes. I'm just looking for songs that speak to my heart and speak to where I am at that moment and songs that I can have fun with. Songs that I can honestly sing every night. Of course, I'm looking for creative things, trying to write creative things, and trying to raise the bar for songs in general. Every time we go in to make a record, trying to make it better than the last one.
Q: Though I love the production works of Phil Johnson and Wayne Haun, you are also a brilliant producer yourself. Your production on the Martins' latest album is stellar. So, why didn't you produce your own album alone by yourself?
Well thank you for the compliment about the production. Yes, I did the Martins, the new Gather vocal album, "We Have This Moment", and I've been doing a lot of production stuff. Did some of the new Jim Brady trio album. I'm about to go back in with the vocal band. I'm about to go in with Triumphant and co-produce with Wayne Haun. There are several things being talked about. I really love that part of my life.
As a musician in Nashville, every session we're on, we're producing from the floor. We're throwing out our ideas. I've had the opportunity to work with some of the best producers in secular music and Christian music. I have learned a lot about how to treat people and how to encourage people and how to get out of the way of somebody who may have a better idea than you. This is just a hot bed of incredible musicians and songwriters and engineers and singers. The best musicians live in Nashville, TN in my opinion.
But the reason I did not do my own record, by myself, is I think that's like being your own attorney. You get so inside it, and your playing and singing and looking for songs and doing all these things, and I have quite a bit of input, production-wise, into my albums, but I think you have to have people that you trust, because if Phil Johnson and Wayne Haun says, "hey man, that's a good vocal, you need to walk away from that for a minute" or "hey man, that's a good idea" or "hey, what if you do this, instead of that".
I really trust those guys. I think if I were to produce it, I would probably produce all the soul out of it and it would just be much better with all the other ears involved, the people who have made big records and know how it's done, people that I respect a whole lot. But I do appreciate your compliments on the other albums and I love that part of what I do.
Q: "Love Love Love," the title cut and single, is such a great song which I raved about highly in my review of the album. For our listeners who haven't heard it, what's the song about? What does the song mean to you?
Well talking about "Love Love Love", as I mentioned before, I've had that song on hold for probably five years. It really spoke to me when I heard it. I love a good story song, and Mark Nesler is one of my favorite national songwriters, just an incredibly talented guy and I love the way that he puts things in such a simple way, so that I can understand it, and yet it's so profound. That takes such talent, and he is one of the best at it.
The song just tells a story about a preacher speaking on a Sunday morning and they all expect him to preach this long message with all these points and all that and basically he gets up to the pulpit and he just says, "Love, Love, Love" and he's done. And really when you get right down to it, that's what the Christian faith is based on. We were so loved and are so loved by our Savior, that we have to love others, that's not a choice. But we've been so loved that we should want to love others. I think sharing your testimony is good, talking about your faith, all those things are wonderful, but if you don't conduct yourself in a manner that backs up what you say, if you're not loving those people around you, then all that stuff that you claim to believe is worthless.
So I really believe that the quickest way to witness to somebody is to show them the love of Christ because if you do that, then they're going to be interested in what you have to say, but our testimony speaks a whole lot louder when we're not talking, when we're showing the love of Jesus.
Q: Another song I raved about is "Grace Became Amazing," tell us about your thoughts on this song.
"Grace Became Amazing" was a song that Wayne brought to the table and he is one of the co-writers on it and it paints such a wonderful picture of the grace and mercy of Christ and I just love the beauty and the simplicity of it. Of course, I certainly remember the night that I accepted Christ, and how His grace in my life continues to change me. So, I really believe that it will be a song that will speak to a lot of people and if they haven't yet accepted Christ as their Savior, I believe it will make them think about that. Hearing the joy that that song portrays, maybe it will make them think about it, even more than just during that song, maybe it's a song that sticks with people. I do love it. I love the beauty and simplicity of it. It's got a beautiful melody too.
Q: This album speaks of love, including loving those who are difficult to love (such as those with Alzheimer's disease in the song "Remember for Me"). Has there been someone in your life you find it difficult to love? How then do you love that person?
Well, the song, "Remember For Me", is, I believe, a very important song on this album. There are so many people who deal with family members and friends who have dementia or Alzheimer disease, and that's such a tough thing to walk through. I wrote that with Sue C. Smith and Dixie Phillips. It's one of my favorite songs on the album, because I believe that it encourages people who are going through that with their friend or family member. At the end of the song, it says, "we have a promise no disease can steal, that one day we'll forget this pain we feel, but until then" and then the hook is "remember for me".
It's written from the point of view of the person who has the disease and what they might say to their loved one, if they could. Yes, that's a very difficult thing to go through, but I pray for people who hear it, that they will be encouraged and that they will be strengthened by just diving into the Word of God and claiming His promises, that He'll never leave us, He'll never forsake us. That we can cast all our
cares on Him for He cares for us. I think we all have those unlovable people in our life, like you were saying, and there's no magic way to deal with that, we just have to find our strength in Christ and love those cause we were first loved by Him.
Q: Besides your own music, you also play keyboards or piano for many country and gospel music artists. Can you recall your most memorable experience in playing piano or keyboard for another artist?
Well, I don't know what my most memorable experience is, playing with another artist. I have so many stories. I remember, especially when I first got started, some of the big hits that I played on in the very beginning. I do so much from day to day, that it's hard to remember all of it.
I guess if I had to say, one of the things I remember most, it would be the Alan Jackson song, "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning". I remember when 9/11 happened, I was on my way to the studio, and I just kept thinking that whole day as we were worked, "Man, I wish we were doing something that mattered. So many people are hurting, so many people lost their lives. It just seems crazy, that here we are, just having a normal day, playing music."I remember praying, "Lord, help me to do something that will help somebody heal, that will encourage someone", because that was such a tough time for our country.
Not very long after that, I was called to play on the Alan Jackson "Drive" album and one of the songs was "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning" and I remember we came into the control room, right after dinner and he was sitting on a stool and he had his guitar and he said, "Well, Denise wants me to play this for ya'll. I don't know if it's any good or not." Then he started playing it with his guitar and I remember thinking, and I even said it to a friend that I was on session with, as I walked to the piano after he played the song, I said, "This is going to be a number one song", and it ended up, being the very first number one country song that I had ever played on. That was certainly a highlight.
We could write a whole book about stories and memories that I have, about being in the studio and playing on big songs, but that was certainly a highlight.
Q: What are your hopes for this album? How do you wish this record would impact the lives of your listeners?
Well every time you make a record, you hope that people will be blessed and encouraged, that it will make them smile, make them think. Maybe if they're going through something really tough, that the song will just reach out and touch them and give them courage to take the next step. You hope that every album broadens your audience. You hope for a lot of things. You hope for doors to be open, more people to hear your music.
I guess in a nutshell, you just hope God will just take it and do much more with it than you can even imagine, and His will would be done, because really at the end of the day, that's really what it's all about. I hope people are encouraged to try harder to love, you know. Bill Gaither always says, "there's more that unites us than divides us", and I really believe that and I think it's important now more than ever before that we find those things that unite us and if we want to have conversations and agree to disagree about certain things, keep conversation open, that's one thing, but to totally just attack one another because our ideas are not the same and the way we do things are not the same, maybe we don't support the same politicians, or we don't support the same denomination, or whatever the case.
I think the church needs to be a body of people who love first and I think that can make an impact on the whole world that people can't even imagine. We need revival in our country and in our world and I believe loving people is the way to get that started.
Thanks for the great review, and anytime you need anything, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.