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Ashmont Hill – The Maze (Video)

Ashmont Hill:

mazeCDToday people from all walks of life make their homes and peaceably coexist in diverse communities like Ashmont Hill in the inner city of Boston, Massachusetts. How fitting that it should also be the home neighborhood and group name for a rising pop-gospel quartet—and family— that has bridged together their diverse influences under their one true passion: worship of their Creator.

“We actually love all types of Christian music,” says Phil Thompson, who formed Ashmont Hill out of Jubilee Christian Church, his father’s congregation in Boston, with sisters April Joy Thompson and Deborah Bullock, along with Deborah’s husband Will Bullock. “We grew up on The Winans and Commissioned, Me and April were BeBe & CeCe growing up.”
“But we also grew up on Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant,” echoes April. “And since then . We love listening to HillSong, Nichole Nordeman, Natalie Grant, Leeland—we love Leeland!”
The list goes on and on, and it becomes apparent from listening to Ashmont Hill’s latest release, Your Masterpiece, that the group’s love of diverse musical influences and congregational worship can’t be confined to a single music market.
“Our Dad instilled in us from the beginning the need to be a church without walls,” says April. “It really fed into our belief that the Body of Christ needed to hear the music that the Lord was inspiring within us..”

Indeed, it was the enthusiastic response to Ashmont Hill’s “amazingly seamless vocal blend” and “pureness of worship” that fueled the group’s broad audience appeal and first led to the recording of their self-titled debut in 2008 through record label, Axiom Records. That same year, before the album had even released, the group landed an opening slot on tour with Natalie Grant. They quickly built a following from the exposure and later garnered radio success through their Top 5 Inspo single, “Song of Glory.” Not a bad start, but the experiences proved a stepping stone for the development of the group’s follow-up.

“As we were coming into this album, we had a better idea of who we are as artists,” according to Phil, the group’s primary songwriter, who had a hand in writing 9 of the 13 tracks. “and I felt a lot more confident as a songwriter. The first album helped us learn what our sound is, but I feel the touring and radio experiences since helped us to step up our game and build upon that sound. We now have a clearer picture of who Ashmont Hill is. I really feel like we have grown leaps and bounds from the first record.”
Reteaming with producer Sal Oliveri, Ashmont Hill set out to record an album that offers both radio-friendly material and congregational anthems. They’ve accomplished the former with “Unstoppable,” an adaptation of Romans 8:31 set to adult contemporary with a Brit-pop flavor, and “Show My Love,” the album’s first radio single, penned by Ronnie Freeman as a response to Jesus and all he’s done.

“When I first heard [“Show My Love”], I knew it brought diversity to the record because it sounded more artist-driven. But there was also a sincerity and honesty to the lyric and melody that made it extra catchy. I knew it had radio potential as soon as we recorded it.”

The album also has its share of worshipful songs. Both “Sanctuary” and “Your Love Saves Me” are tender Hillsong-styled ballads that draws the heart into quiet thankfulness and surrender to the Lord. But it’s clear from talking with him that the title track, expected to be the next single, is the song that Phil is especially proud of.

“I was talking one day with my co-writer Zenzo [Matoga] about writing a song about the cross. And we came up with this amazing melody, but the lyrics just weren’t flowing that day. Stepping out of the room for a moment, I suddenly had a vision of Christ on the cross as a painting, and the word ‘masterpiece’ came to me. It then occurred to me that the cross was the canvas with which God created his greatest masterpiece. Everything flowed and clicked from there.”

April chimes in, “The first time I heard that song, I just wept. I caught Phil’s vision from the lyrics and it just gives me goose bumps: On the cross with blood, You painted Your masterpiece/Selfless love hanging on a tree FOR ME/Your outstretched arms is a portrait for all to see/Selfless love hanging on a tree FOR ME.”

When they’re not touring the country, all four members of Ashmont Hill are involved with full-time worship ministry at Jubilee Christian Church back home in Boston. It keeps the group grounded in their calling to spread the Word of God through song.

“God’s Word is all things to all people,” according to Phil. “It’s food for someone who’s hungry. It’s heat for those who are cold. We have to first satisfy people’s physical needs before they can be nurtured spiritually, and it’s our hope that our music can satisfy in both ways.”

April, an ordained associate minister at Jubilee, is equally passionate about the group’s unique calling. “I think we have the best job in the world, to worship and lead people into God’s presence through song. Our hearts and desire is to spread God’s love through music. We want to remind people that God didn’t send Jesus into the world to condemn it, but rather to save it. That He has a plan and purpose for all of our lives. So we want to spread God’s love throughout the Body of Christ, and really beyond it, because that’s what it means to be a church without walls.”

Or in the case of Ashmont Hill, a diverse group that knows no musical boundaries.

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