American Heroes #4 burst onto the children's music scene to enthusiastic reviews. It garnered these 10 awards:
Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award: American Heroes #4Music
Jonathan Sprout's newest celebration of Americans who have made notable contributions to the nation in widely diverse ways, features lyrics crafted through research and complementary melodic approaches for each biographical subject. The tuneful songs, written by Sprout with other veteran singer-songwriters and musicians (Dave Kinnoin, Joe Mennonna, Jimmy Hammer) spotlight Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon "Daisy" Low, American Founding Father William Penn, Albert Einstein, Dr. Seuss, baseball's first Latino Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente; Theodore Roosevelt, Walt Disney, Samantha Smith (the little girl who wrote an inspiring "letter of peace" to then-Soviet leader Yuri Andropov), pioneering environmentalist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rachel Carson and groundbreaking American educator and civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune.
The offerings on this music CD, all of which are original, sing the praises of men and women (and one very remarkable young girl) whose deeds have had a positive impact on our lives and culture. Ten of the eleven songs highlight one hero apiece, with lyrics that capture the spirit of that individual's vision and temperament. The eleventh expresses appreciation for heroes everywhere, for the inspiration they provide and the sacrifices they make. The CD's booklet includes a brief, well-written history of each song's hero, along with dates of birth and death and a personal quote. Some of these are well-known historical figures, like Albert Einstein and Theodore Roosevelt. Others are less well-known, and their inclusion, along with the nearly equal division along gender lines, is laudable. There's a lot to be said for the earnestness of the songs on American Heroes # 4. In addition to the valuable knowledge kids glean while listening to the music, they are exposed to the positive, generous spirit Jonathan Sprout and his band bring to each and every song.
Academics' Choice Award™ Winner
American Heroes #4
Ages: 7 - 11 Type: Audio CD By Sprout Recordings
American Heroes #4 is a musical celebration of the lives of 10 extraordinary citizens from the famous to the not-so-famous. Jonathan Sprout makes history come alive with a big, bold sound that announces: this is a party about heroes!
These well produced and written songs are filled with nuggets of information and insights about famous American Heroes. The CD opens with "Unstoppable," a song about the creator of the Girl Scouts organization, Juliet Gordon "Daisy" Low. This song feels like a modern folk/rock song with a hint of electronic elements. This CD would be best suited for grades 1-6. The lyrics could be read aloud to help supplement a lesson plan on a single American hero or specific time and place.
KIDS FIRST! All-Star Award!
"... a beautifully realized and produced album that continues his award winning series honoring American heroes. The song writing is crisp, the performances are spot-on and the production values are beyond reproach. I cannot recommend this album enough!!" - KIDS FIRST
Kid Music Reviews:
By Kathy O'Connell
CD: American Heroes #4, by Jonathan Sprout
Grammy nominee Sprout offers the best entry in his American Heroes series based on the lives of historical figures. Sprout and co-songwriter Dave Kinnoin (another longtime voice in kids' music) have crafted musical tributes to Roberto Clemente, Walt Disney, civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune and (my favorite) peace activist Samantha Smith, among others. These small, personal glimpses into the lives of figures whom history has made larger than life fulfill an educational mission, while catchy melodies and production deliver high entertainment value. William Penn's urge to "Come with Me!" (to settle Pennsylvania) should be the state's official tourist song. The spectacularly silly "Dr. Seuss" honors the author by namedropping titles and characters kids will recognize immediately.
After listening, I was ready to write my review and decided to look at the others. It seems that fellow reviewer Richard Hamilton who, like me, decided to play the CD through without knowing the subject who Sprout was writing about. It was fun as some were obvious and some weren’t. (And I’d recommend playing that game with older children – ones who would know most of the people covered – the first time through.).
Even though Sprout writes primarily for children, we are never too late to learn. So, until I listened to the CD – and read the short essays that precede the printed lyrics in the enclosed booklet – I did not know anything about Juliete Gordon Low or Samantha Smith and, growing up a boy, the name Mary McLeod Bethune wasn’t a familiar name. (No, I won’t tell you who these folks are. I’ll let you learn the same way I did – through the songs).
The nice thing about Sprout’s songs is that they are not cloyingly sweet and his music arrangements and production take them out of the “niche” of “Kids’ Music.
Try a few sample tracks and see if you don’t get hooked too. And don’t miss the three earlier volumes – if you are just discovering the series. And maybe you’ll discover another American Hero who YOU weren’t aware of.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.
Steve Ramm “Anything Phonographic”
After releasing a full 10 albums during his career, accomplished children’s musician Jonathan Sprout has proved that he knows what he’s doing. His newest release, American Heroes #4, is further testament to that. What makes him unique is that this is not just an album of fun songs for kids; this is an informational album that’s going to teach children while they’re having fun. These are all fun, upbeat, optimistic songs that have a lesson to teach. And although they are geared toward children, they happen to be a fun listen no matter how old you might be.
In “Powerful,” for instance, Sprout explains how even the slightest choices can have a major impact on someone’s life. “Heads, Hearts, and Hands,” encourages kids to do well in school and live life respectably because after all, they are the future of the world. “Dr. Seuss” is a wacky, fun track about the famous children’s writer himself. Sprout sings in a goofy voice that is sure to be engaging for everyone listening. Although it’s a fun song, Sprout makes a point to remind listeners that every Dr. Seuss books still has an important story to tell.
“E=MC2,” is a song about Albert Einstein and the mathematic formula that made him so famous. What would be even more impressive would be if he made up an engaging song about all of the important mathematic formulas to help with the studies of high school level students.
Because this album is about this heroes of the world, it has the power to evoke inspiration from children everywhere. It’s clear that this guy has done his research for every single song. And because of this he probably has put more time into writing and composing his music than many other artists have.
No matter how old you are, these songs are guaranteed to get stuck in your head. It’s clear that Sprout has perfected his craft. He’s got a niche sound that not too many other artists share, especially since his music is tailored to such a youthful audience. Whether you’re a teacher looking for something to play your students in the classroom or you’re a parent looking for a way to make learning a little more fun for your child, this is the way to do it. Your kids are going to enjoy this album.
Review by Alec Cunningham
4.5 stars (out of 5)
In Praise of “American Heroes #4”
As a voting member of the recording academy, songwriter/composer and educator, I highly recommend Jonathan Sprout’s highly acclaimed “American Heroes #4” for consideration in the 57th Grammy Awards as well as for the listening pleasure of all children ages 1-100. The award-winning album is the fourth in a series by one of the Industry leaders in Children’s Music containing ten songs commemorating celebrities who have changed the face of American History as well as a final anthem reminding us that each of has the potential of being a hero in another person’s life. The songwriting, which was mostly a collaboration between Jonathan and the equally talented songwriter, Dave Kinnoin, is all top notch as is the quality of the production. As a professionally trained performing musician, I greatly appreciate the fine musicianship that is evident throughout the album. Furthermore, the positive messages of hope, courage and perseverance that are implicit in each of the songs is the driving force behind the award-winning album.
As a dually certified New York State educator from grades pre K- 12, I applaud Jonathan’s dedication to writing and including songs, which not only tie into the Core Curriculum and standards (including New York State’s standards of education) for the Arts, ELA and Social Studies, but also addresses many of the components of Character Education. I commend Jonathan’s integrity in consistently showcasing some of American History’s most famous leaders as well as some lesser known heroes. I especially rejoiced upon hearing the inclusion of some of America’s leading literary and Artistic figures including Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney, both of whom may not be included in a standard history text book yet integral in the climate of change in our society. Currently working as a music teacher in an urban charter school for girls, I fully appreciate how empowering the song about Samantha Smith, “Powerful” (track #7) could be for girls of all ages.
From the opening song “Unstoppable” to the final anthem, “I see a Hero”, Jonathan has us tapping our toes, singing along and dancing to the positive, inspiring music. This album is definitely a must-have for anyone working in the field of Education. As far as I am concerned, “American Heroes #4” is already a winner!
Owner, Growing Azalea Music Productions
Founder, SAFE through the Arts educational violence prevention program
Music Teacher, Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls
Quality Shines Through in American Heroes #4
It is fitting that I review American Heroes #4 during Women's History Month as Grammy® nominee, Jonathan Sprout, once again includes dynamic females in his collection of 11 educational songs celebrating accomplishments of individuals throughout U. S. history. Highly researched, Sprout gives listeners insight into the people who contribute to the arts, sports, social justice, science and the environment.
Always well produced and polished musically, Sprout and longtime song-writing partner, David Kinnoin, add stylized flourishes such as Latin overtones in the song about Roberto Clemente and hints of nature while celebrating Rachel Carson. The whimsically, enjoyable, Dr. Suess, fits well with this much loved author's imaginative and amusing books.
I picture teachers and students using Sprout's songs as teaching tools and families enjoying these songs for their great entertainment value. My children's music and media company has always recognized Sprout's talent, musicianship and passion for quality music which shines through once again in American Heroes #4.
Georgeanne Coffey, President
Blue Vision Music, LLC
Bringing Music, Media & Kids TOGETHER!
"This project is by no means a boring slog down history lane. This is a dynamic, exhilarating foray into the hearts and minds of inspiring shakers and movers that rock our world to this day." - Kidzmusic.com
"Like the rest of the "American Heroes" series, American Heroes #4 is a music CD for young people that educates as well as entertains. Throughout history, notable Americans have applied their skills and talents to make the world a better place; American Heroes #4 celebrates their accomplishments while subtly encouraging little ones to do well in school and find their own passion. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library children's music collections!" -- Midwest Book Review, February 2014
"... Jonathan incorporates a soft rock, jazzy, lounge, and pop-focused approach that is fun, playful, and educational. ... the music is largely focused on the children, but that shouldn't discourage parents and others from singing along. "I See A Hero" is a lovely ballad with a soft beat and inspirational lyrics. "E=mc2" is an homage to Einstein with power pop and rock elements that are anything but ho-hum. "Come With Me!" is a dance-inspired tune with a colonial-inspired edge. "Through The Eyes Of A Child" is a catchy rock/pop ballad with uplifting vocals and sweeping piano elements. Overall, the music is upbeat and intelligent with catchy hooks and a meaningful message that everyone will enjoy." ~ Matthew Forss
Album: American Heroes #4
Artist: Jonathan Sprout
Recommended for: History Loving Kids & Adults, School Age Rockers, Car Tunes, Summertime Learning Lyrics
Today’s selection is the latest in a series called American Heroes. With a title like that, you couldn’t ask for a better choice to celebrate Memorial Day and kick off the start of summer. Jonathan Sprout’s award winning American Heroes album series grew out of his desire for kids to know and love the real heroes in American History; people who “lived and breathed elements of good character and are good examples that children can understand and emulate.” He’s been singing and teaching kids about some of American’s most notable figures for the past 20 years.
His passion for this mission isn’t at all diminished on this fourth album. It does just what he intends it to, make history come alive for kids through music. American Heroes #4 introduces kids and their families to ten heroes some whom are instantly familiar to most listeners such as Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney and a few others who are perhaps a little lesser known but equally as intriguing such as Samantha Smith, a ten year old girl who made significant strides for international peace.
My history loving kid was instantly captivated by the music on this album. He enjoyed the challenge of trying to figure out if he knew who the song was about before hearing the person’s name and the whole family came away learning something from the lyrics. Jonathan Sprout fills each song with as many tidbits and facts as possible, it’s obvious that he puts in a lot of hard work turning his extensive research into musical stories that engage children with the history that surrounds them.
With a big bold sound, Sprout’s style is similar to what you might experience in a theatrical performance or an outdoor concert. It’s well tuned for listeners of all ages and his powerful voice is easy to understand so that you don’t miss the important historical lessons that are meant to be heard.
American Heroes #4 is a delightful way to make history a part of your summer adventures*—be inspired by ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
"A collection of finely written and skillfully sung songs...Children's
music can be great when done right, and Jonathan truly gets it right with this
fine new album." -- The Examiner.com
|Barry Raphael||Forget the kids. This one is for you!|
|Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Rose||A Must for Home and School!|
"It's fun to sing songs with Jonathan Sprout! American Heroes #4 will have your kids dancing and singing... One of my favorite songs is Unstoppable about one of my heroes, Juliette Gordon Low. I am sure you will pick your favorite heroes from American Heroes #4. If your child is unfamiliar with some of the heroes it offers as a great learning opportunity. I think it could be time to visit the local library! ... American Heroes #4 is a great addition to our home-school library.