He’s a solo artist who just released his 15th album, a session musician who’s played with everyone from Carrie Underwood to George Strait to Lionel Ritchie, and he currently tours with the group Alabama. Gordon Mote is an accomplished, in-demand musician with a very busy schedule.
“I play on a lot of Nashville sessions, in the country world, and also the Christian music world,” he says. “I’ve also done a lot of pop music. I’m one of those guys who has his hands in a lot of baskets. I'm grateful to have a variety of things to do, and grateful people still want me to be a part of what they're in to.”
His journey to becoming one of Nashville's top musicians began in Atalla, Alabama. Blind since birth, Mote showed a gift for music at a young age. He was three years old when he stunned family members by sitting down at the piano one Thanksgiving to play “Jesus Loves Me” with both hands. He’s been passionate about music ever since.
“My music is so eclectic today because I listened to every album I could find. My brother (who is also blind) and I traveled and sang in churches of all sizes and denominations.”
Mote attended Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama, before transferring to Belmont University in Nashville. It was there he met his wife, Kimberly. The two were both Vocal Performance Majors and shared a deep love of music. She often sings on his albums.
“My sweet wife Kimberly and I just celebrated our 31st anniversary,” he says. “We have three children: Samantha, Parker, and Ashton. We’re very blessed.”
Mote got his start with Lee Greenwood, who hired him two days after he graduated college. As Mote's reputation as a musician grew in the years that followed, he began doing session work.
“The first No. 1 song I ever played on was an Alan Jackson song called ‘Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning,” he says. “What really helped with my career was playing on all of those early Rascal Flats songs. I worked with them for many years, and their early songs have a lot of piano intros I came up with. Then I worked with people like Martina McBride, John Michael Montgomery, Lonestar, Mark Wills, and from there, things just kind of exploded."
In addition to his extensive session work, Mote is a singer/songwriter with several albums of his own. His latest is called Where You Lead Me.
“It runs the gamut of musical styles. I grew up loving so many different types of music, and as a studio musician, I play on so many different styles of music; I end up singing and writing different types of songs."
He jokes and says if you don’t like one song on his album, wait for the next one.
“The great Ronnie Milsap, when an album of his would come out, one song might be pretty country, then the next song might be pretty pop. I always really loved that about him. And not to use all blind musicians for definitions but think about Ray Charles and all the different styles of music he’s known for. It all comes from the heart.”
The album features several collaborations, including one with contemporary Christian artist, Travis Cottrell.
“Travis is also the worship leader at Brentwood Baptist Church, and my daughter married his son three years ago. We'd never done a collaboration until now, and I thought it'd be great to have Travis be part of this. It's an incredible song called 'Missing Jesus,' and my wife sings on it with us."
There are also collaborations with the Gaither Vocal Band and Alabama.
He not only now tours with Alabama, but he also produces for the Gaither Vocal Band.
Music has been extremely good to him.
“I work with some of the most talented people on the planet, people I could only dream of even meeting. I feel so blessed. I pinch myself every day."