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Book Release Party for William Van Meter’s Bluegrass (Also: Cat Power Played)

January 09, 2009

Last night a few hundred lucky folks crammed into Union Pool to celebrate the publication of William Van Meter’s Bluegrass and enjoy a private performance by none other than Cat Power. A longtime friend of Van Meter, Chan Marshall turned up with a few of her Memphis Rhythm cohorts to play a short set (like, four songs) that included a revamped “I Don’t Blame You” and a beautiful, droned-out cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue.” For those lucky enough to squeeze inside, it was a rare chance to see Cat Power play in such a tiny room (unless you consider The Apollo a tiny room, she’s playing there next month).

The fun show and open bar were a welcome relief for Van Meter, who spent well over a year researching and writing about the gruesome murder of 18 year-old Katie Autry for Bluegrass. While writing the book, the author returned to his old hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky, to try and make sense of a particularly shocking and altogether unfathomable crime. The book tells the story of the murder of Katie Autry—a college student who was raped, stabbed, and set on fire in her dorm room at Western Kentucky University. A keenly observed, nearly meditative examination of the crime and it’s rippling aftereffects, the book does what the best true-crime literature almost always does—it shines a light on the spookily arbitrary and always-inexplicable nature of violence. It’s the kind of book that will have you looking over your shoulder on a dark walk home.

Posted: January 09, 2009
Book Release Party for William Van Meter’s Bluegrass (Also: Cat Power Played)