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Author Topic:   2006 Just Plain Folks Music Awards Genres & Categories Defined
Brian Austin Whitney
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Posts: 7918
From: Indianapolis, IN USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 09-10-2006 15:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Brian Austin Whitney   Click Here to Email Brian Austin Whitney     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Folks!

Each year when we do the JPF Music Awards it’s a learning experience. Even though we involved a wide variety of experts and seasoned artists in the process, two people rarely agree on everything, let alone dozens. Because of the expansion in genres/categories, we had to find even more experts in areas we’ve never dealt with before. In most cases, we were able to come to an agreement on parameters for categories and in others we reached a consensus, but not unanimously. When in doubt, we all returned to the primary criteria for the entire awards: Does it move you? We want to recognized music that moves us. We aren’t fitting music into a box, rather we build the genre “box” around the music that moves us. We think this is an important difference from other awards or industry classifications. Even when something didn’t seem to fit anywhere, we included it and expanded the box instead of eliminating it because it didn’t fit. Yeah, I know that’s a bit complicated, but we never had to think a moment about something not fitting somewhere as the reason we eliminated it.

Below I will give you a little insight as to what the categories/genres mean to us. We make no claims that other industry folks agree with our internal definitions. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to find 5 industry people who will define a single genre the same way. (Sometimes we couldn’t find any 2 people who agreed). So we grouped music with similar qualities together and then said “what is this group of music?” Though most of our genres fit expected industry guidelines and definitions, we did make some changes unique to our process. We have 81 album categories and 67 song categories. Below we’ll explain the ideas behind both.

We’ll start with the categories that have Song nominees and we’ll cover those with Album only nominees at the end:
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A Cappella: This features group vocal music in a variety of styles. This is a performance/arrangement category meaning cover songs are perfectly fine.

African: This features songs in an African language or Ethnic style or made by artists/writers who originate in Africa.

Alternative: These are Pop and Rock Alternative songs. If you add a little edge and attitude to mainstream songs in those genres, you’d end up with the types of songs in Alternative.

Ambient: This is a new category for us and it’s a bit different than mainstream ambient would be to casual fans. We put some emphasis on edgy pieces with a mix of real and electronic sounds. This is less often mellow and laid back.

Americana: With the addition of Bluegrass and Roots Instrumental to Americana, Roots, Country and Folk, we had to consider the vibe of the songs to place each into their places. There’s no question that arguments could be made (and in fact were made) on where songs could be placed. There was a certain vocal, musical and lyrical vibe that pulled these songs together (and those in the other genres mentioned). These are part Country/Rock/Folk/Blues songs all mixed together.

Asian: This features songs in an Asian language or Ethnic style or made by artists/writers who originate in Asia. We included Islands near Asia into this as well as Russia which is sometimes placed with Europe, but for our purposes stayed in Asia.

Bluegrass: This is the first time we’ve had a song category for original Bluegrass. This includes Bluegrass vocal songs only. The Bluegrass Instrumentals were placed in the Roots Instrumental category which covers multiple genres.

Blues: This is pretty straightforward Blues from all perspectives. Big band, rock, folk and anything else that is, in the end, blues.

Cabaret: This is always an interesting category where we place quirky songs, theatrical/dramatic songs and songs from a bygone era. We have the same mix this year and though some of these artists might be surprised to find themselves in this category, the songs selected all work together as a grouping. This is not straight forward Jazz/Theater/Cabaret.

Cajun: This is pretty straight forward Cajun and Zydeco, with expected instrumentation and subject matter. We didn’t get as many entries from New Orleans and that region as we usual due no doubt to the hurricane and aftermath, but the entries from members in other areas filled in the gap.

Caribbean: This is a new category for us and features songs in an Caribbean language or Ethnic style or made by artists/writers who originate in the Caribbean region.

Celtic: This is always a challenging category because there’s such an emphasis on traditional music that it can be tough to find the original compositions mixed in. This year the nominees often lean towards bawdy drinking songs and a lot of novelty/humor thrown in. There are also some moving ballads and Celtic rockers to round it out.

Celtic Instrumental: This is a mix of traditional and modern original composition Celtic Instrumental music.

Children’s: Songs in all styles, topics and approaches directed towards kids of all ages.

College Rock: This category is made up primarily of mainstream Pop tinged Rock songs with radio friendly hooks suitable for Top 40 radio.

Contemporary: This is made up of ballad and mid tempo softer pop/rock songs that would be at home on adult contemporary radio.

Contemporary Christian: This is made up of Christian and Inspirational Pop/Rock and Singer-Songwriter style songs.

Country: This category represents a little bit of everything in the Country genre. You’ll find songs from traditional Swing to hard driving beer drinking songs to Pop Country radio friendly here.

Cover: This category is filled with weird and whacky versions of famous songs as well as some beautiful interpretations of well known classics. This is based on performance/arrangement only.

Dance: This is mostly straight forward Dance music with a few variations in approach and some remixes as well.

Electronica: This is mostly pop edged Electronic music with and without vocals.

European: This features songs in European languages and Ethnic styles or made by artists/writers who originate in Europe. This is a very eclectic category and features many music styles.

Experimental: This features a lot of unusual songs that defied categorization and thus ended up in Experimental. This includes ground breaking electronic to mixes of vocals and samples and just plain oddities that stuck out to all of us during the screening process.

Female Singer Songwriter: This category features artists who write or co-write and perform their own material and would often be identified as singer-songwriters. Albums often contain a mix of genres with the commonality of the same main songwriter and solo performer.

Gospel: This generally represents Christian “Church” music often including full Gospel choirs or featured vocalists backed up by choir arrangements.

Hard Rock: This represents hard driven guitar rock songs with edgy music and vocal production.

Hawaiian: This is a new category and features a mix of traditional Hawaiian language and sounds, songs with Hawaiian specific topics or instrumental styles (such as Slack Key guitar) and songs that evoke images of Hawaii.

Holiday: These are original songs based on Holidays. Though all Holiday’s were eligible during screening, this year we feature primarily songs about Christmas and New Years.

Traditional Holiday: These are covers of well known Holiday songs or new songs created with Traditional Holiday poems. This award is based on arrangement and performance.

Indian and Indian Classical: These categories are new and they presented the biggest challenge to us this year of any category. Though we had a lot of help from people who know and understand this music, there was never a good consensus as to the best way to categorize and recognize this music. We know going in that people will find fault with how we’ve designated these categories, but in the end, our primary goal is to recognize, through any means possible, music that moved us. These Indian (and one Pakistani and one song from Nepal) songs and albums moved us a great deal so we were determined to recognize them in some way, even if the method was less than perfect. In the end we split it into 2 categories. We placed any songs where the artist was taking composition credit (for music/melody or lyric) and placed them in Indian. In cases where the songs were based on well established classical music and ragas and historical folk songs we placed them in Classical. Even that decision was not without complications, but we decided as a group this was the best compromise we could make. Since this is a first time for these 2 categories, we’re hoping that the next time around, we’ll have a better system going in and a lot more involvement from the Indian music community at all stages to address these issues in a more clear cut and agreeable way. We welcome constructive feedback from experts in the field how to better recognize this amazing music in the future. For now, these are the 24 songs in these genres we loved the most divided into 2 groupings.

Industrial: This is hard core industrial music with influences from electronic, techno, metal, hard rock and punk.

Instrumental: This is a general instrumental (i.e. non vocal) category for both real acoustic instrumentals and electronic compositions. It includes songs from movie soundtracks as well.

Instrumental Jazz: This is pretty straight forward instrumental Jazz tracks. We allowed some vocal’s if they were incidental or were simply performed as an extra instrument in the arrangement.

Jewish: These are songs in an ethnic Jewish style or based on Jewish religion. We allowed songs that were based on religious texts with original music and melody.

Latin: These are songs with a Latin ethnic or production style and/or in Spanish language.

Male Singer Songwriter: This category features artists who write or co-write and perform their own material and would often be identified as singer-songwriters. Albums often contain a mix of genres with the commonality of the same main songwriter and solo performer.

Metal: This is maximum aggressive rock music with equally aggressive vocals. There was a large influence of the sub-genre “screamo” this year.

Middle Eastern: This features songs in a Middle Eastern language or Ethnic style or made by artists/writers who originate from the Middle East. This determination was made on musical factors rather than Geo-Political factors. For example, we found respected resources that placed Armenia in Easter Europe, Asia and the Middle East. We placed it in the Middle East. We also included Egypt and other areas of North East Africa where the music fit more with our Middle Eastern music collection than with our African music collection. The Middle East region for our purposes is likely different from other published sources, but if you research it, even they often disagree with each other. We focused on the music and where it made sense on those terms alone.

Modern Rock: Our definition of this category is often different from mainstream radio or industry. We place moody and quirky rock songs in this category.

Native American: This includes songs in a Native American musical style.

New Age: This is a diverse collection of music including spiritual, meditation and ethereal influences.

New Folk: These are contemporary music influenced folk songs.

Novelty: These are whacky and weird humorous songs and comical performances.

Polka: This is a new category for us. It includes both traditional style Polka as well as very modern approaches to Polka.

Pop: These are mainstream pop songs.

Punk: These are punk songs in a wide variety of styles and approaches.

R&B: These are mostly mainstream Pop influenced R&B songs with a few old school approaches as well.

Rap: Rap and Hip Hop has diversified a great deal as a genre and this collection represents a little bit of everything involving Rap/Hip Hop.

Reggae: These are straight forward Reggae songs from around the world.

Rock: This is a collection of rock songs that are radio friendly without too many Pop or Hard Rock influences.

Rock Instrumental: All varieties of Rock edged music without lyrics.

Rockabilly: This new category is straight forward Rockabilly music.

Roots: This Country/Folk/Americana music with an “old timey” arrangement and vocal performance feel.

Roots Instrumental: These are instrumental only performances of Bluegrass, Americana and Roots songs.

Salsa: This is straight forward Latin Salsa.

Solo Guitar: These are solo guitar songs. Songs where other instrumentation was incidental to the main guitar performance were also eligible.

Solo Instrumental: These are solo instrument songs exclusive of Piano or Guitar. Songs where other instrumentation was incidental to the main instrument performance were also eligible.

Solo Piano: These are solo piano songs. Songs where other instrumentation was incidental to the main piano performance were also eligible.

South and Central American: This features songs in a South or Central American language or Ethnic style or made by artists/writers who originate in South or Central America.

Spoken Word: This features performances of Spoken Word poetry with or without musical backup.

Surf: This is a new category and features modern and traditional style Surf music.

Techno: This features mid to up tempo electronic instrumental music.

Traditional Folk: This features Folk songs with traditional or simplistic musical arrangements, prominently featuring acoustic guitar in arrangements. Imagine the sound/style/subject and vibe of a traditional public domain folk song only featuring a new composition. We also included some humor and political statements. The word "Traditional" here refers more to production and to separate these songs from the Contemporary Folk songs with more current day sounding production. (We've already received a complaint that we ignored Public Domain folk songs, but this is, after all, a composition award that goes to the songwriter, not the artist alone).

Urban Gospel: This is a new category featuring Christian/Gospel songs in Urban Pop, R&B and Rap styles.

Vocal Jazz: Straight forward Jazz songs in a variety of common styles and approaches.

World: A diverse collection of ethnic inspired world music from around the world.

The follow categories/genres are only represented in Album Nominations:
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Children’s Storytelling: This new category includes albums with featured spoken word elements telling Children’s Stories.

Classical Orchestral: This includes Classical music in an Orchestral/Symphonic format.

Classical Chamber: This new category features albums by Chamber music groups of 2 or more musicians.

Classical Solo: This features solo instrument performances of classical music. Additional instrumentation that is incidental to the main featured solo instrumental performance is permitted.

Classical Vocal/Opera Choral: This new category includes non Solo Classical Vocals and Opera

Classical Vocal/Opera Solo: This new category includes solo Opera and Classical Vocal music.

Comedy: This new album category includes stand-up comedians and radio show skits.

Compilation: This is a category for Compilation Albums featuring different artists with a common theme or purpose in any genre.

Educational: These are albums that feature an educational spoken word topic.

Klezmer: This new category features Klezmer and Jewish traditional instrumental music.

Live: These are live performance albums.

Self Help/Meditation: These are Self Help and Meditation spoken word albums.

Storytelling: These are adult themed spoken word Stories, Plays and Radio Theater.

Theater: These are theatrical musicals and stage performance albums.
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As we stated at the start, we understand that our definitions don’t match everyone else’s. It is impossible to create a universally accepted definition as no two people usually agree on all the categories. We create and add genres/categories based on the music we receive not the other way around. Once we find music that moves us, we group it with similar songs/albums and then decide what genre best describes that collection. If we’ve left your style/genre of music out, let us know. If we have enough entries next time we’re always happy to expand as we have significantly this year. We’re already the most diverse awards in the world and we work hard to never leave anyone or anything out!

Thanks to all the judges and artist/writer peers who have helped out in the screening over the last year. It’s been a big job but an amazing one that we’ll never forget!

Brian

Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks

[This message has been edited by Brian Austin Whitney (edited 09-13-2006).]

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Emily Sanders
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Posts: 2794
From: Santa Monica, CA
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posted 09-10-2006 22:12     Click Here to See the Profile for Emily Sanders   Click Here to Email Emily Sanders     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting this, Brian...
I can't beleive there are so many genres and categories!

Emily

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http://emilysanders.net

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frahmes
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From: Nakuru, Kenya
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posted 09-11-2006 01:35     Click Here to See the Profile for frahmes   Click Here to Email frahmes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks so much Brian for the effort! I have actually learnt something musically about certain genres I hadn't heard of before! It is a challenge to us to try them out perhaps next year.

However why haven't you mentioned anything elkse about Lyric Awards..or were they separate. I entered in that category and I can't wait to know how I have faired!!!

So when is the final nomination out..butterflies in my stomach disturb me!!!

Thanks anyway and all the best to the contestants..whether we get an award or not I think we will have won something here..at least a new experience..sharing our work with others, togetherness in spirit at Jp and so on!!!

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frankie

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Brian Austin Whitney
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Posts: 7918
From: Indianapolis, IN USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 09-11-2006 05:23     Click Here to See the Profile for Brian Austin Whitney   Click Here to Email Brian Austin Whitney     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nominations are all posted. Check the home page and/or the awards page on the site for more info and links to the nominees this year.

Brian

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Tom Tracy
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From: Philadelphia, PA, USA
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posted 09-11-2006 11:16     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom Tracy   Click Here to Email Tom Tracy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Brian,
Since I didn't submit any music this year, I'd be very interested in acting as a judge for a few categories. Personally, I don't think I could fairly judge if my own music was in the running, but since it isn't, and I have available time, I'm interested in helping.
Will you be posting the judging criteria here soon?

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Tom Tracy
http://www.soundclick.com/tomtracy

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Brian Austin Whitney
Bard of the Boards

Posts: 7918
From: Indianapolis, IN USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 09-11-2006 14:31     Click Here to See the Profile for Brian Austin Whitney   Click Here to Email Brian Austin Whitney     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom,

If people are nominated, they just don't vote on their own categories. No conflict problem at all. Or are you saying you couldn't judge even in different categories? There's 67 song categories to choose from this year!

Brian

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Anna/Without the Blonde
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From: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
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posted 09-11-2006 19:33     Click Here to See the Profile for Anna/Without the Blonde   Click Here to Email Anna/Without the Blonde     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is the best list of genres & descriptions of the genres that I've ever seen in one place!

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Linda A
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From: Maine
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 09-14-2006 13:44     Click Here to See the Profile for Linda A   Click Here to Email Linda A     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
totally agree with Anna...now I know what category I should submit for next year...I think I was way off base with how I entered my first song and how unprofessional mine appeared with the cover as compared to the nominees..this has been a great learning experience. Is there a mentor out there for me???

And, is anyone from New England traveling to the music awards in Cali? I'd like to maybe hitch a ride. Linda A.

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you think you can, or you think you can't; you are right!"

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TerryJames
Casual Observer

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From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvnia, USA
Registered: Sep 2006

posted 09-23-2006 05:23     Click Here to See the Profile for TerryJames   Click Here to Email TerryJames     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cyber covers all genres. It's a shame that everyone is falling back into pre Woodstock labelling people and their music. 27 years ago we had it right; now it's back to the same old same old of gender, and make no mistake, genre means "gender." Basically, you've joined the gender bias crowd.

Maybe instead of splitting everything up into genders you should rejoin them back into being just plain people. Or am I wrong about just plain music as well?

Use the term Cyber when you don't want it put in any gender or genre; revolt or suffer the consequences.


quote:
Originally posted by Brian Austin Whitney:
Hi Folks!

Each year when we do the JPF Music Awards it’s a learning experience. Even though we involved a wide variety of experts and seasoned artists in the process, two people rarely agree on everything, let alone dozens. Because of the expansion in genres/categories, we had to find even more experts in areas we’ve never dealt with before. In most cases, we were able to come to an agreement on parameters for categories and in others we reached a consensus, but not unanimously. When in doubt, we all returned to the primary criteria for the entire awards: Does it move you? We want to recognized music that moves us. We aren’t fitting music into a box, rather we build the genre “box” around the music that moves us. We think this is an important difference from other awards or industry classifications. Even when something didn’t seem to fit anywhere, we included it and expanded the box instead of eliminating it because it didn’t fit. Yeah, I know that’s a bit complicated, but we never had to think a moment about something not fitting somewhere as the reason we eliminated it.

Below I will give you a little insight as to what the categories/genres mean to us. We make no claims that other industry folks agree with our internal definitions. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to find 5 industry people who will define a single genre the same way. (Sometimes we couldn’t find any 2 people who agreed). So we grouped music with similar qualities together and then said “what is this group of music?” Though most of our genres fit expected industry guidelines and definitions, we did make some changes unique to our process. We have 81 album categories and 67 song categories. Below we’ll explain the ideas behind both.

We’ll start with the categories that have Song nominees and we’ll cover those with Album only nominees at the end:


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Brian Austin Whitney
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Posts: 7918
From: Indianapolis, IN USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 09-23-2006 13:45     Click Here to See the Profile for Brian Austin Whitney   Click Here to Email Brian Austin Whitney     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey Terry,

So you're suggesting having 1 genre and recognizing either 20 total songs out of 350,000 and 8 total albums out of 25,500 instead of recognizing amazing music in 81 genres/categories? You also expect all radio and record stores to lump all music together with no indication to anyone what it all is and without acknowledging that some people like Country music and others like Metal and others like Rap and others like Classical or that fans can't tell the difference between the music from Male Singer Songwriters and Female Singer Songwriters? That seems to be what you're suggesting with no genres or only 1 single genre called "cyber."

As for "genders" we took what would have been the largest single genre "singer songwriter" (nearly twice as large as the next largest "Rock")and split it in half so that even more amazing singer songwriters could be recognized, but so that it could also be judged in reasonable numbers. We've learned that the max # of normal length songs most people accurately can judge without experience/training at one time is about 20 at a time in these circumstances.

What "Cyber" even means to you is unclear. We acknowledged above that not everyone will agree with our system, but to pull off recognizing this much music, it works very well. I suggest if you want a "cyber" music awards that you start one. We thought an awards program could be done better and differently so we took action. Rather than complain, you should do the same. There can't be too much sincere support of music out there.

Brian

[This message has been edited by Brian Austin Whitney (edited 09-23-2006).]

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dhsongs
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posted 10-31-2006 04:08     Click Here to See the Profile for dhsongs   Click Here to Email dhsongs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Terry's post has got to be the strangest one I've read in my years here. Doesn't makes enough sense to have to bring up counter points. But for the not-needed thing of it, what the heck! I'll play along anyway:

People? Yeah,,,I think they are. Are there singing dogs entering this year that one has to remind us the entrants are people?

And wouldn't a fair and open awards be one that gives the ones that already labels their own style more of a chance of being recognized by not having to compete with an altogether different GENRE? And it's not gender. It's Johnra. It's named after me,,just to get on the same plane as Terry....high up in the clouds! Weeeee,,I can see my house!

And finally, Limbaugh wouldn't even come up with such nonsense!

Wow! Woodstock huh? Ok,,,,! Pass the mushrooms. I bet when one bought weed, they would ask what kind? Could have said, what genre you got there!? What's that? It's all the same?,,,,,,Oh I don't think so! Sally's got some Jamacian Gold that will kick that Chester Pa crap right out of here! All weed is not the same pal. Besides, we celebrate differences, not try to lump them into one and take away their charactor. Glad you're not a chef where I eat! Would have my cheeseburger mixed in with my pancakes and a pudding! Can't we get along? Yeah,,,and with not hiding our differences, but celebrating them!

Completey and categorically floored!

John

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Linda A
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From: Maine
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posted 11-01-2006 11:21     Click Here to See the Profile for Linda A   Click Here to Email Linda A     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
lol johnra...hows your house look from way up there?

Judging the awards was one of the most difficult things i've ever had to do-truly! the destiny of numerous people were in our hands and I took it very seriously. What made it more difficult, which probably isn't the fault of anyone, is that there were IMO, pop songs mixed in with rock and other songs that didn't seem to fit the category it was placed in. So we had exceptionally great vocals and music that were difficult to judge against just because they were submitted in what looked like the wrong categories...

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Marty Helly
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From: Florence, MA, USA
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posted 11-03-2006 08:34     Click Here to See the Profile for Marty Helly   Click Here to Email Marty Helly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
<<now I know what category I should submit for next year>>

Just a clarification: You don't submit for a category. It is placed in a genre after the reviewers have listened to it.

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Marty my home

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you
recognize a mistake when you make it again!

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