To borrow a phrase from Gordon Mote himself, when it comes to "All Things New" there are major attractions and there is also the main event. A couple of major attractions are worth denoting: first, there is an all-star line up of artists who have come to share the microphone with Mote. This includes country stalwarts such as Darius Rucker, Trace Adkins, Josh Turner, Scotty McCreery & rocker turned country Sheryl Crow. But that's not all; sharing the spotlight also is the best of Gospel/Christian music's Gaither Vocal Band, Matthew West and Voices of Lee. Second, another major attraction is the involvement of producers Frank Rogers and Wayne Haun. Rogers, as country fans would recall, is the man who has helmed hit albums for Josh Turner, Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker. While Haun, being one of the most Dove nominated recipient this year, is no stranger to Christian music fans. Though these are the major attractions, the main event is still Jesus Christ. Despite being born blind, Mote can see Christ with greater perspicuity than most Christian artists. Each song on this record is a rich exposition of the multi-faceted dimensions of the Gospel that is just stunning. Melodically, these paeans harkened back to the glory days of country music in the 90s where songs are constructed around irresistible hooks, memorable lines and soul-piercing emotions.
The tracks on "All Things New" alternate between up tempos and ballads. To say that there is not a single dud among the ballads is a mere understatement. Mote rides the rails straight into our hearts with "Faith Like That." A tear jerker of a ballad, "Faith Like That" tells of a trembling dad getting up to eulogize at his son's funeral's service. More than just being comforted, the father became a comfort to all of us who have had suffered loss. Just when you thought nothing could ever top such a heart rendering ballad, we get "Meanwhile Back at the Cross." Mote hits the theological bull's eye when he teaches us that the Cross of Jesus is the victory we have over Satan and all the dissension he brings to our relationships. Most dazzling is Mote's impassioned voice as he soars to great heights towards the climax of the song. Be prepared for there will be lots of "wow" moments. Kyle Matthews joins Mote and Frank Rogers in penning "Broken Open,' a modern-ish country-pop ballad in the veins of Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley that provides great spiritual wisdom to those who feel ill-fated because of their dire circumstances.
Emblematic of the best of Southern Gospel is the feet stomping "Ain't It Just Like the Lord," where Mote, Joyce Martin Sanders and Paul Sanders made it their declaration that there is nothing impossible for the Lord. "Do You Believe in Love" (though not the best up tempo song) is noteworthy because of the string of guest vocal spots coming from Sheryl Crow, Matthew West, Josh Turner, Scotty McCreery and Darius Rucker. Featuring some jumping jazzy piano jibes is the sobering "Main Event." Here Mote re-tells the story of Jesus sitting opposite the temple treasury watching as worshippers deposit their offerings. In our Lord's eyes, despite the grandiose gifts the Pharisees, they were merely the main attractions while the widow who gave her last two cents was the main event. Joining Mote on "Down by the River," Gaither Vocal Band and Trace Adkins dig deep into some funky blue-eyed soul.
Voices of Lee, a 16 a cappella ensemble from Lee University in Cleveland in Tennessee, accompanies Mote on the hymn like "When I Rise." Their amazingly uniform vocals bring a celestial touch to this paean about the longing of seeing Christ face to face. Again the ensemble is back with family members Kimberly and Samantha Mote as they partner with Gordon Mote on the worshipful "For You." Having being a session player for thousands of artists over the years, it is wonderful to see such a cadre of luminaries paying back the favor on Mote's latest release. But this by itself is just a major attraction. The main event is still Jesus Christ; the songs are so saturated with Him that you can help but worship Him long after the last note from this record fades.