In doing a little investigation about Adams' (annoying albeit American) use of banjo in his Gnarly Buttons, I found this prognostication in a Fanfare review by Christopher Abbot:
I think Adams's true genius lies in pieces like these [Gnarly Buttons and John's Book of Alleged Dances] and Grand Pianola Music, rather than in the operas or the Chamber Symphony (the Violin Concerto is an exception -- I think that will endure).
Dunno but after the Doctor Atomic extravaganza (and a run-through of the so serious Varèse), the small-scale works sound refreshing. Moo.
Update: I'm reading Elijah Wald's Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues. I never knew the banjo had West African predecessors. Wald also makes the point of how whites have romanticized blues history; we forget that rural legends like Robert Johnson were basically unknown at the time compared to more polished and professional urban black artists that still get tagged with the "country blues" label e.g. Leroy Carr. (Checking, I see that Carr doesn't even have an entry in Wikipedia. I'll start the stub). Finally, he points out classifications like classical, jazz, country, and blues only became common as a way to market records and that in the early 1900s, musicians were likely to play a variety of styles, even if they only recorded in one. This includes concert pianists who would add arrangements of say, Yankee Doodle Dandy, to their usual repertoire of European concert music. Most interestingly, Wald cites textual evidence canonical bluesman Muddy Waters, early in his career, played such pop songs as Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Deep in the Heart of Texas, and Down by the Riverside.