With a chuckle, Gordon shares the experience. “This is a story that not many people know; when I was at Belmont University, I failed the piano proficiency exam. It’s now kind of a joke in the music industry. I was a vocal major, but everybody that went through the commercial music program had to take the piano proficiency. I played for people who took voice lessons and for other things, so I went in and wasn’t worried at all. I just played the scales and was basically going through the motions. And they failed me because I didn’t use the right fingering!
"They felt that if I could learn how to use the correct fingerings, I’d be better. So I began practicing with Lori Meacham, who was teaching adjunct at Belmont at the time. We’d spend about five minutes a day working on fingerings, and I just had to play really, really slow. The rest of the time, we just played jazz tunes! I never used the fingerings later; I just had to learn them to pass the exam.”
Seems like Gordon got over that musical hurdle just fine, since he went on to be one of the top studio session players in Nashville, toured with the Gaither Vocal Band for six years and is now an in-demand solo artist. Gordon is also a proud papa, and he gave us an update on his lovely family...
“Parker’s our little athlete; he’ll turn 13 this year, and he’s always playing something. Samantha’s 16 and very involved in music and drama. She’s an incredible singer and a good little piano player too. She doesn’t just sing lead; she can hear really intricate harmony parts too—you don’t have to teach them to her. It’s just amazing that someone at 16 can hear all that.”
Gordon and his beautiful wife Kimberly were surprised to discover how much their youngest son, Ashton, loved music — even as an infant! “True story … he was a colicky baby and cried from birth until about 10 months old, although he did sleep during the night. It was very difficult to keep him entertained. When it was time for him to settle down and take a nap, the one thing that would stop his crying would be John Mayer's Continuum CD. We found that out by accident; we listen to all kinds of music, and we happened to have that on one day. The drum pattern started on the first song, “Waiting on the World to Change,” and he just stopped dead. And for the whole CD, he never made another peep! For about 10 or 11 months, the only thing that would calm him down was that CD. We haven’t listened to it much since then, because we got so burned out on it!”
Besides music and family, Gordon has a deep love for God and His Word. When asked about his favorite passage of scripture, his answer is Jeremiah 29:11. “As a parent, you want to provide the foundation for your kids to be successful and to have a good future, and that’s what God promises all His children. He’s got a plan for our lives, even on those days we think, ‘This is just crazy; how is this ever gonna work out?’ We just keep our eyes set on the promise He made, that He knows the plans He has for us, to have hope and a great future. There are so many promises that we can stand on, and the great thing is that He is big enough and good enough that He’s never broken a promise!”
Be sure to check out the Sept./Oct. issue of Homecoming to read more about Gordon and his latest album, Songs I Grew Up Singing.
Click to read more articles featuring Homecoming friend Gordon Mote!