Some take their jams too seriously
Let me share an interesting encounter from a recent party held at a beautiful hillside property not too far out of town.
Lots of musicians were there, mostly of the folk variety.
There was a good atmosphere, as a number of partygoers pulled out their guitars, fiddles and mandolins while sitting around the living room.
Throw in a smattering of other weird and wonderful instruments, and a room full of fine voices, and the place soon got rocking. Well, to call it rocking might be going a bit too far but the vibe was pretty cool.
I was a bit of an outsider (not really being a folkie and all), but I was enjoying watching and listening to the impromptu jam session.
One very accomplished folk musician was sitting outside on the deck during most of this and was chatting with some friends.
Let's call him Einstein. I call him Einstein thinking it's a safe bet there is no one actually named Einstein in this region who is also a folk musician (I'd hate to mistakenly give him a pseudonym that erroneously identifies someone else).
Suddenly a young guy inside the house picks up a guitar and starts to strum away while singing in a mesmerisingly sweet fashion.
During his song, Einstein wanders in and brings with him his instrument of choice - let's call it the tubular bells.
In a flash, Einstein was playing his tubular bells in an amazing improvising style alongside the guitarist.
As I stood there soaking it in, the party's hostess sidled up to me and whispered: ''This is a very special moment. Einstein never plays with anyone unless he respects them.''
With those few words that ''very special moment'' was suddenly ruined for me.
I had just discovered Einstein was a musical snob and it shattered all of my illusions about folk music.
We all know musical snobs abound in the classical world. Even jazz has an element of snobbery and elitism.
But folk music?
Isn't folk music supposed to be all about sharing and caring and one big love-in? Isn't that the beauty of folk music? Doesn't everyone just play along together and allow the love of music to be their equaliser?
There are obviously some musicians who are far more talented than others. That is as true in the folk world as it is in any other genre.
I then realised that even those great all-in jams at the National Folk Festival's Sessions Bar each Easter are rarely honoured with the festival's big-named talent.
And there is even a pecking order in those sessions, where most players in any particular circle pay some form of homage to the ''better'' players leading the jams. Whatever is going on in those sessions, it works. But there is definitely a hierarchy.
As the party began to wind down and people started going home, Einstein sat down with his tubular bells and led his favoured musical friends in a few great renditions of some classic folk and pop numbers.
It was great music. Einstein is pretty damn good.
But even then he still chose who he played with and who he wasn't going to jam along with.
It all reminded me of that great spoof movie A Mighty Wind, which mocks folk musicians who take themselves way too seriously.
Musical snobbery in folk music?
I guess that's why God invented rock'n'roll.
Chris Johnson is a staff writer and a musician. You can find him way down the pecking order of most jam sessions he joins.