Mastheadheroes

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February in America is Black History Month, when we give extra attention to our great African Americans. Carter Woodson, renowned African American scholar, is credited with having started it all on the 50th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. In 1915, Woodson attended a national celebration in Washington, DC which highlighted the progress of blacks since the Civil War. Over time, what was first known as Negro Achievement Week morphed into Negro History Week and, in the 1960s, into Black History Month. Woodson chose February because of two heroes: Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is February 12th, and Frederick Douglass, who celebrated his birthday on February 14th.

Abraham Lincoln’s song is All across the Land. (American Heroes CD)

Frederick Douglass (1818-95) escaped the master’s whip at the age of 20 when he fled North, disguised as a sailor. He became a powerful voice for the freedom of all blacks whose lecturing and reasoning were so impressive that opponents refused to believe he had been a slave. A beacon of morality whose vision transcended race and gender, he wrote books and published a newspaper discussing the evils of slavery and promoting the rights of women.

Legend has it that on February 20, 1895, a young black man who attended a lecture by Douglass was so inspired that he went straight to Douglass’ home just outside Washington, DC that night hoping to speak with the great man. He waited on the broad front steps of Douglass’ house. When Douglass arrived home, the young man asked what he could do to help the cause of African Americans. Douglass responded with what were evidently his last three words: “Agitate. Agitate. Agitate.” He then quietly entered his home and died of a heart attack later that night.

It was Frederick Douglass who said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who favor freedom without agitation want crops without plowing... they want rain without thunder and lightning.”

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I'm very pleased to share with you that American Heroes #4 has just received the KIDS FIRST All Star Endorsement!

Read it here:  http://www.kidsfirst.org/new-endorsements/

The album will be available online on February 11, 2014.

Both Regina Kelland's To Market Kids company and Ariel Hyatt's Cyber PR (arielpublicity.com) are in the process of helping spread the word about my 10 latest heroes and their songs. I'm compiling stories of how each song was researched and written that I'll begin sharing with you soon!

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Four years ago this week, I received the shocking news that my latest album, American Heroes #3 received a Grammy nomination. Until then, I thought I'd made my last album.

Making albums, for me, is a labor of love. There's a lot of love, but there's a lot more labor, to be honest. I can't just make an album. It has to be the best possible album I can make. And with each successive album, I learn more and discover even more ways to spend my time and money taking the next album to the next level up.

That Grammy nomination assured my next album that it would, indeed, get made. And made it, I have. It took a year of research (110 books + several research expeditions), a year of song-writing (and re-writing, etc.) with Dave Kinnoin and Jimmy Hammer. It took two years of recording with Joe Mennonna, Jimmy Hammer, Leslie Chew and others who contributed their various musical gifts. And on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, American Heroes #4 will be officially released.

I have fallen in love with yet another batch of 10 amazing people - the subjects of this new album. I'll soon be introducing them to you. Stay tuned!

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As a budding author who has great respect for all literary heroes, I can report to you with pride (and a little prejudice) that Britain's Jane Austen will appear on the 10 pound note (worth about $15.00) beginning in 2017. She'll be replacing Charles Darwin. Her natural selection evolved out of protests that, come 2016, there will be no women whatsoever on British money, save the Queen.

Whether or not you have a love and friendship relationship with Ms. Austen, I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say, it's about time the good people of Britain cashed in on one of their finest heroes.

It makes a lot of sense and sensibility to me.

~Jonathan Sprout

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SPROUTNEWS

JULY 2013

 

For the past several years, I have often lived in that delicious creative timeless mode where music and stories seem to magically happen when I confine myself to creating them. Meanwhile, the real world has become fuzzy and distant to me. Three years since we began writing the songs, we have nearly completed the recording of American Heroes #4. We anticipate the release of the CD and the debut of the corresponding new American Heroes 5 Concert in January 2014.

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