This song celebrating John Muir is available on Jonathan Sprout's third album about American heroes, American Heroes #3. While Come Back Home is the second song on the album, the album cover art features Muir, with the other heroes grouped together on a Yosemite mountain hillside with the famous Half Dome in the background, and an enlarged inset with John Muir himself waving in front of Yosemite Falls.
Although categorized within the children’s music genre, American Heroes #3 is anything but juvenile. It’s a collection of pop rock tunes with a sophisticated sound, rich with intricate, interweaving counter melodies and a full assortment of instruments, including walls of electric and acoustic guitars, pop synth sounds, banjos, mandolins, accordions, horns and various keyboards. Sprout's clear strong voice is frequently accompanied by background vocalists who are not children, unlike so much children's music. The album was among 6 nominees for a 2010 Grammy Award.
Other heroes besides John Muir included on the album AmericanHeroes #3 include Jane Addams, Wilma Rudolph, Miilton Hershey, Elizabeth Blackwell, Jonas Salk, George Washington Carver, Cesar Chavez, Pocahontas, and Thomas Jefferson.
Jonathan Sprout tells us that he is a fan of the Sierra Club, and that his passion for the outdoors and the wilderness made it essential that he include John Muir on this album.
Jonathan reports that he has visited Yosemite several times, once via a self-contained bicycle camping trip. Jonathan says:
"The CD cover artwork was inspired by photos I took of Half Dome. It was Muir's quotation "The mountains are calling me 'come back home'" that inspired me to write the song from his perspective. I used my recollections of my visits to his sacred sites as well as his books and his magazine articles as jumping off points for the lyrics. I learned "alpen glow" from him. I share with John Muir that passion for the "being" of being outdoors and the struggle over the writing about it. Dave Kinnoin and I spent dozens of hours editing and re-writing the lyric until I thought it captured the essence of Mr. Muir's simple passions. I share Mr. Muir's wanderlust and the need he no doubt felt to preserve beautiful natural places. I see one of his greatest gifts as the gift of foresight. It's an honor to feel connected to this great man through what I do. I hope that our song about him and my concerts that include stories about him will always be faithful to his deepest sentiments."
As Sprout indicates, this song is voiced in the first person as if John Muir himself were singing about the mountains, his dreams of exploring, climbing, and protecting them.
The lyrics are fully evocative of the wilderness John Muir loved so well. Through this song, we learn how Muir yearned to: "catch a glimpse of a mountaintop / Awash with alpenglow, / Let me live out a dream on Yosemite Stream / Where my wilderness joys abound, / To discover the truth of eternal youth / Upon that sacred ground."
Most of the song celebrates the beauty of the wilderness, but part way through, poignantly asks, "Now who will preserve it all for us / So we can come back home?"
2010 Grammy nominated recording artist Jonathan Sprout has found his unique calling to help teach kisd the differences between celebrities and heroes. In 1994, Sprout was startled that most kids responded to the question "who is your hero? by listing television cartoon characters and celebrity athletes whose off the field antics were anything but heroic. That’s when his idea of writing and recording songs about real heroes was born. With the help of author-lecturer Dr. Dennis Denenberg (50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Know), a noted heroes specialist, Sprout “chose people who were heroes day after day, who lived and breathed elements of good character, who are good examples that children can understand and emulate.”
Fifteen years later, the psychology major from Bucknell University has performed thousands of concerts in elementary schools across the eastern United States. Jonathan Sprout has written thirty songs about some of the most remarkable men and women in American history, ranging chronologically from Pocahontas to Neil Armstrong. His list of heroes includes politicians (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson), athletes (Jackie Robinson, Wilma Rudolph), scientists (Jonas Salk, Thomas Edison), feminists (Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Blackwell), civil rights leaders (Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Cesar Chavez) and others. He has created three American heroes albums; the latest, American Heroes #3, was released January 13, 2010 and has already received numerous awards.
“I’ve always loved learning about amazing people,” says Sprout. “Now
I have a professional excuse to learn and write about some of the best. Who
else do you know who gets to sing his own songs about real heroes for captive,
star-struck audiences? Having grown up among parent and grandparent educators,
teaching is in my blood. The particular combination of entertainment and education
that comes from singing about heroes gives me a sense of fulfillment and joy
I’d only dreamed of in my early days when I was performing in nightclubs
Highlights: 5,8665 lifetime performances * 4,839 children’s concerts * 758 Songwriting Workshops * Nine albums * Grammy nomination 2010 "Best Children's Recording" * iParenting "Best Product of 2009" Winner * 3 Parents’ Choice Awards * 3 NAPPA Gold Awards * 2 Film Advisory Board Awards of Excellence * Family Choice 2009 Award * Dove Foundation "Family-Approved" Seal * Dr. Toy 10 Best Audio/Video Products for 2009
Other John Muir Songs
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