On this occasion, the usual schedule was interrupted for an excellent square dance exhibition: after we'd played music for twenty minutes or so, Murphy and her square-dance friends put on a set of mighty fine dancing for the folks.
The crowd really liked the dancing, but when it was over, all the energy had gone out of the picking. Quite a few of the musicians had departed, and most of the others didn't seem to want to play. So Murphy and her student Zack and I started playing to get things going, kicking it off with "Cripple Creek" and then the old Lester Flatt favorite, "Will You Be Loving Another Man." Sure enough, musicians started playing along: guitar players, fiddle players, and a bass and dobro. Now the music was shaping up. We kept it up with "Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms," "Wabash Cannonball," and other old favorites. Soon the jam was rolling along. We went for an hour or so, and then Murphy and I finished up our own part of the show and headed for home. But by that time, we left a dozen or so pickers carrying on.
When a jam is falling apart, sometimes you've just got to put some energy in there. Often as not it'll be contagious, and you'll have plenty of company soon!