Here's the link to the 2017 Nominees:

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If you have a question, feel free to post it below. First up is an explanation of the Genres and our Philosophy on how we use them. I will try to answer all the additional questions as they come up.

Common Questions:

Q. How do I pick which genre of music to judge? I have no idea what most of these are!
Q. What in the world were you thinking? That song doesn't belong there!!!!
Q. I like all kinds of music, so give me whatever you want! Okay?

A. JPF approaches genres as a tool to help people find music they might like. We are NOT genre "purists." In fact, we are the opposite. We use genres to INCLUDE music, not to EXCLUDE it. That means that we put music where many experts on a genre never would. We don't worry about violating the rules of any genre. We're interested in bringing music that moves us forward and genres are nothing more than a helpful tool to do so. We apologize in advance to any genre purists who may be offended by our choices. We also take full responsibility for where music has been placed. Please do NOT blame the artists involved. They had no say in the matter. That said, we've used and refined these genre guidelines over the years and we feel they work very well for our purposes. No two people ever agree on all genre definitions, let alone 1000's or 10,000's. Whenever we had something that moved us but that didn't really fit into a genre very well, we just expanded the genre to include it. That won't please purists, but we never had to worry for a moment that we'd have to eliminate something simply because it didn't fit well into a genre definition. In the end, genres don't matter. Just music that moves us.

So we hope these simple descriptions will help you find music that you'll love as much as our volunteer screeners have. Remember, we're not looking for "hit" songs, nor are we avoiding them. These are just songs and albums that moved us most from among the music entered. To be fair, not all categories are created equally in terms of overall talent or overall numbers, but we still think there's plenty to love in every category and frankly, we try hard in certain categories to stretch conventional wisdom so we can fit songs and albums in that earned recognition. As collections, just push play and let them wash over you start to finish to understand how they all have a thread that ties them together. You'll likely find songs or albums you don't like. Keep in mind they may have gotten the most or even fewest votes, but they also could simply be beyond your taste, and if we did our jobs, there will be songs you won't like. Just like there are on any collection. We certainly didn't try to make it all fit inside a small minded box like popular radio is forced to. Enjoy the diversity and be moved!

Genres Defined!

A Cappella: This is all vocal (or this year Whistling) performances of original and cover songs. We may feature everything from solo to large choir vocals. For songs we are voting on performance and arrangement only even though you'll hear a mix of original music and covers.

African: This is music made by artists from Africa or that feature an African ethnic style of music and/or vocals performed in a native language of the country represented. There is a mixture of contemporary and traditional music styles. English is not excluded as long as the artist(s) originates and lives in a African country.

Alternative: This includes both edgy/aggressive Pop and Rock music.

Ambient: This is instrumental atmospheric both mellow and aggressive. It also include recordings of real life environments and electronics.

Americana: This is always a tricky genre to define. It includes a mixture styles including of Country, Rock, Folk & Blues and often features lyrics that tell stories of life in North America.

Asian: This is music made by artists from Asia or that feature an Asian ethnic style of music and/or vocals performed in a native language of the country represented. There is a mixture of contemporary and traditional music styles. English is not excluded as long as the artist(s) originates and lives in an Asian country.

Bluegrass: We use the traditional definitions of Bluegrass music.

Blues: This is a variety of straight forward blues music with a representation of blues rock band styles.

Cabaret: This is a mix of both traditional cabaret and quirky theatrical songs in a variety of styles.

Cajun: This is a mix of Cajun, Zydeco, Swamp Rock and Louisiana focused songs.

Celtic: This is both traditional and contemporary original Celtic music.

Celtic Inst.: This is both traditional and contemporary original instrumental Celtic music.

Childrens: These are songs geared towards children or parents of young children in all styles.

Children's Educational: These are kid oriented educational albums from serious to whimsical.

Classical: These are Classical albums featuring Solo through Symphonies

Class Contemp: These are Classical albums that feature original compositions written and/or performed by our members.

Class Vocal/Opera Choral: These are Classical Vocal and Opera and Choral Albums.

College Rock: This is mainstream radio friendly pop-rock songs and albums.

Compilation: These are albums that feature multiple artists in a wide variety of style or compendiums from a single artist's career.

Contemporary Christian and Spiritual: This is a range of current music styles featuring Christian or religious denomination neutral/spiritual lyrical content. You'll find pop, rock, folk and contemporary arrangements.

Contemporary: These are primarily ballads in lite Rock, Pop, Country, R&B and Folk songs and albums.

Country: This is primarily mainstream contemporary country music or traditional sounding arrangements.

Cover/Tribute: These are cover versions of popular music which include new arrangements and performance approaches as well as genuine true to the original styles of a wide variety of genres. These should be judged on arrangement and performance only. On the album side it includes any format of primarily cover songs.

Electronic/Dance: This is straightforward music you can dance to. We include house, club and vocal songs as well as primarily electronic pop songs mostly featuring vocals or vocal samples.

European: This is music made by artists from Europe or that feature a European ethnic style of music and/or vocals performed in a native language of the country represented. There is a mixture of contemporary and traditional music styles. English is not excluded as long as the artist(s) originates and lives in a European country.

Experimental: This is a wide variety of experimental songs and albums in all styles. If you're up for a musical adventure, this can be a fun category for open minds.

F S/S: These are songs and albums by female singer-songwriters lead singing songs they wrote or co-wrote in their own name. Approaches primarily fall into a mix of Pop, Rock, Folk and Contemporary styles.

Funk: This is a category with a wide array of styles and approaches from classic R&B/Soul flavored grooves and lyrics to acoustic approaches with a funky undertone. This is a new category and we intentionally included some less traditional flavors of Funk.

Gospel: We included mostly traditional church choirs, praise and worship style performances and some traditional country gospel approaches as well.

Hard Rock: This is what many in the industry currently call "Modern Rock." These songs often have a pop style hook or chorus with straight forward rock vocals and hard rock music production.

Island/Hawaiian/Reggae: This is music primarily made by artists from Hawaii and other Islands or styles of Island music including Reggae as well as songs about Island life and locations.

Horizon: This is an award for artists who are under 21 years old at the time of the recording who we feel show tremendous growth potential and a very bright future with the right encouragement and opportunities.

Holiday: These are original Holiday songs that can include any recognized Holiday as well as albums that feature both original and traditional Holiday songs of any style.

Inst. Holiday: All styles of original and Holiday cover music Albums.(these days it is becoming hard to tell).

Inst. Jazz: All varieties of Instrumental Jazz.

Inst. Rock: This is primarily rock music with featured lead guitar solos or organ/piano grooves.

Instrumental: This is a very wide array of instrumental music compositions and performances that do not exclude synthesizers or programmed music.

Jewish/Klezmer: This category includes both Hebrew and Yiddish language songs and albums as well as music with a Jewish theme in any style in any other language as well as Klezmer, a traditional and secular often Jewish music known for it's expressive musical passages.

Latin: There are Spanish and Portuguese language songs in all ethnic variations and styles.

Live: Any style live performance albums are eligible. We intentionally represented albums that sounded like a night at a club, or a house concert or church.

M S/S: These are songs and albums by male singer-songwriters lead singing songs they wrote or co-wrote in their own name. Approaches primarily fall into a mix of Pop, Rock, Folk and Contemporary styles.

Metal: This is hard edge music featuring aggressive guitars and ranging more often to heavy metal, theatrical metal and glam metal, death metal or industrial/electronic metal.

Modern Pop/Rock: This differs greatly from many current definitions of Modern Rock. We include here Creative Rock music which mixes quirky, humorous approaches and dreamy ethereal soundscapes or dark moody tones. This is NOT Modern Hard Rock. See Hard Rock for that style of music. Think They Might Be Giants meets The Cure meets B 52's meets The Alan Parson's project. It's diverse by design.

Native American: This features primarily traditional Native American singing, drum and flute music and other styles made by Native American artists or in those styles as well as Native American themes.

New Age: This is both electronic and acoustic new age instrumental and vocal music with a wide array of approaches from ethereal and fairies to mysticism and New Age mantras and chants, to Windham Hill style instrumentals and solos. A beautifully diverse category filled with all flavors of New Age music Past and Present. .

New Folk: These are contemporary production style or subject matter folk music songs and albums.

Novelty: These are musical comedy songs and albums ranging from offbeat to bizarre. Warning: Some songs and albums contain adult language and humor so if you are easily offended, please avoid this category.

Political: We've long had requests to have a political music category. Inside we've included protest songs, observational and opinion songs and some pointed political partisanship and broader social commentary.

Polka: This is both traditional and contemporary style original Polka songs and albums.

Pop: These are radio friendly mainstream Pop songs and albums.

Positive: This is a new genre for us celebrating songs with a hopeful, upbeat, motivational, aspirational and generally positive message in all production genres.

R&B: These songs and albums vary from old school R&B to pop R&B to crossover.

Rap: We saw a lot of rap music crossing into other genres, but here we focus mostly on songs where Rap is the primary approach. Warning: There is adult language and topics throughout this category so please avoid if you are easily offended!

Rock: With over a dozen variations of Rock represented what we find here are a lot of often radio friendly Rock songs that didn't quite fit in the other sub-genres but work together nicely as a diverse collection. Country Rock to Punk Rock, Prog Rock to Southern Blues Rock and beyond.

Rock Ballad: This is a new category for us including all rock from light to power sub genre ballads.

Roots: This is Appalachian/Old Time Mountain music performed on acoustic instruments and often featuring vocal harmonies.

Roots Inst.: This is instrumental Appalachian, Folk and Bluegrass music.

Self Help/Meditation: These are meditation type albums usually with vocal guidance and instruction or motivational/informational help albums.

Smooth Jazz: This is a mix of vocal and instrumental smooth jazz in a wide array of approaches from R&B crossover to jazz, funk and blues influences.

Solo Guitar: This includes original solo guitar or music that features a solo guitarist.

Solo Inst.: This represent solo performances using instruments other than piano or acoustic guitar which have their own categories.

Solo Piano: This includes original solo piano or music that features a solo pianist.

Soundtrack: These are actual original score recordings used in films and other multimedia projects as well as contemporary classical pieces that evoke a film score feel. We include both original compositions and complete soundtrack recording albums this year.

Spoken Word: These are spoken word pieces with and without musical backing and occasionally with a mix of music, spoken word and singing. Warning: Adult language and topics are included so please do not screen if you are easily offended.

Storytelling Adult: These are stories told for an adult audience. Subject matter varies widely from characters to short stories to full length dramas and radio plays. Play length varies up to multiple hours for some nominees. Some adult content and language so please avoid if you are easily offended.

Storytelling Child: These are children's stories and could range from short pieces to a full length children's book.

Techno: This is primarily up tempo electronic instrumental music but can also include trance, house and other popular variations.

Theater: These are original songs written for and used in theatrical productions and complete cast recordings.

Trad. Folk: This is a bit misleading for purists. These are original songs, done in a more traditional production style than New Folk. Most of the lyrical content tells stories or laments the human condition and circumstances we all face.

Trad. Holiday: These are cover versions of well known Holiday classics and should be judged on performance and arrangement only.

Vocal Jazz: These are original vocal jazz songs in an array of styles and eras.

World: This is original music that mixes multiple ethnic styles with other ethnic styles as well as contemporary styles.

We hope these simple definitions will help guide you to find the music you want. If you're still confused, feel free to ask us a question on our message boards or emails us using the form below!



Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

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