Blind musician Gordon Mote in concert
By Melanie B. Smith
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Gordon Mote can't see into a person's eyes, but that doesn't affect his insight.
Born blind, the Gadsden native shares what he perceives through his music.
"On the other side of time broken things are healed; empty things are filled as we stand in heaven's light," he wrote and sings in one of his newest songs.
"The Other Side of Time" speaks of hope that especially parents of children with disabilities need, he said.
Mote, 36, said the song addresses for the first time feelings about handicaps like his. He said it is bold and encouraging without dismissing the struggles. Mote said he wants his music to "hit home where people are."
Mote will be in concert at Central United Methodist Church on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
A veteran keyboardist and singer, he performs with popular gospel artists like Bill Gaither and Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. Mote also shared concert stages with Lee Greenwood, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride and many others.
He also has played on many CDs, gospel and otherwise, as a recording studio session player. His work is on albums by Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flats, Randy Travis and others. Among his many honors was the Academy of Country Music's fourth consecutive nomination this year as Top Piano/Keyboard Player.
Mote said he often hears from people going through heartache. After one recent concert, a woman confided that her brother was having mental problems, he said. Mote said he knew he was delaying a long line of people waiting to speak with him.
"I took time to pray with her ... It's what I'm out here to do," he said.
He said he's learned to give people his full attention, even if it is just for 45 seconds.
On the lighter side, Mote called gospel music fans crazy, crazier even than ones he's come across in his secular music work.
"A lady came up to me and said, 'Is the music on this CD as loud as it was at the concert tonight?' "
He said he just told her no.
Another fan asked him if the sunglasses he wears are prescription, and still another wanted him to point out section 116, he said.
"I always thought life was funny. I try to remember all this stuff," he said.
Mote said he's learned his sense of humor can help put people at ease. Many are uncomfortable around someone with a disability, he said.
Pianist at 3
Mote is developing his own musical career while continuing relationships with other artists. Southern Gospel News called his debut album "an excellent piece of work and an outstanding introduction to the singing of Gordon Mote."
His gospel album "Don't Miss the Glory," which came out this week, has bluegrass star Allison Krauss singing with him on a song about a praying church janitor. The Issacs and the Gaither Vocal Band also are featured artists.
Mote, who also lived in Talladega, said he was 3 when he surprised his parents by playing a piano like a seasoned musician. He graduated from Emma Sansom High School in Gadsden. He attended Jacksonville State University on a full scholarship and graduated from Belmont University in Nashville with honors. Two days later, he began playing keyboard and singing background for Lee Greenwood.
"I have the greatest life in the whole world," he said.
He and his wife, Kimberly, have two children and another on the way. His parents live in Gadsden.
Sunday's event is the David White Memorial Concert.
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If you go
Who: Pianist, singer and songwriter Gordon Mote
What: David White Memorial Concert
When: Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Central United Methodist Church
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