Washington Post Review of “Undertow”
CATHY PONTON KING “Undertow” Long Gone - Friday, January 25, 2008


Horns riffing, piano pumping, organ grinding – Cathy Ponton King’s latest collection of original songs opens with the gospel-fueled shouter “Little Bridge.” Its brassy jubilance stands out, thanks to several Washington-based musicians, but its spiritual tone foreshadows many of the songs to come, including the piano ballad “Let Me Be the One” and the soul groove “Comfort and Blessings.”

When the blues heat up, King gets a chance to vent. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina inspires “Dark Shroud,” a tale of the storm’s aftermath that benefits from King’s stirring vocals and a textured arrangement that features Mike Lessin’s evocative slide guitar work.
Although Jeff King, the singer’s husband, wrote “Dark Shroud,” “Let Me Be the One” and the album’s title track, the remaining songs were composed by Cathy Ponton King. At least two of them deserve to be covered by kindred artists. It’s not hard to imagine Bonnie Raitt or Susan Tedeschi, for example, embracing the languid musing “Soft Sound” or reveling in the funk blues “Champagne Days Are Over.”

Crisply produced by Jeff King and Jim Robeson, “Undertow” isn’t aimed at blues fans so much as listeners who are happy to hear a gifted singer-songwriter stretch out with a lot of help from her friends. - Mike Joyce

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