Ali George’s latest, “Watchful Days,” ain’t no garden-variety album. Talk about a soul-stirring odyssey of a guy picking up and piecing together shattered emotions. This ain’t just an album- it’s an aural memoir penned during George’s bumpy transition from the UK’s Bath to Greece’s Athens smack in the middle of the COVID-19 showstopper.
Tag-teaming with Josh Clark, George lays bare his guts, sketching out a personal journey through love, betrayal, and most of all, loneliness. He draws on his roots, echoing the sweet sorrow of Nick Drake’s words and the mesmerising strumming of John Martyn’s six-string. But don’t make the mistake of writing him off as some tribute act – George carves his own footprints in the sands of folksy melodies.
“Why ‘Watchful Days’?” you might wonder. Well, when you’ve been uprooted from familiar comfort, watching your significant other’s mother battle an illness, each day ain’t just another day. It’s a drawn-out, anxious vigil with a haunting silence that suffocates. Each tick-tock of the clock rehashed and multiplied in the hush of isolation.
The hushed whispers of the unfortunate loss of his partner, Olia Tsopela’s mother, lost to the cruel grips of cancer, seep into this soulful tribute. George’s grief ain’t just about mourning; it’s about accepting, about staying afloat in a sea of despair, about showing how the human spirit can blister but never burn.
It ain’t a dragging soundtrack of grief, though. Nah, there’s more steel in it than that. It’s a testament to our innate knack to bob back to the surface, no matter how deep down we’re pushed. With every passing track, it becomes clear that, damn straight, music can be a lifesaver. It ain’t just a rhythm or rhyme; it’s a balm, it’s a wrung-out emotion, it’s that magic wand that paints in painful strokes but somehow leaves everything looking a little better.
“Watchful Days,” if anything, is proof that Ali George knows how to brew one heck of a mind-stirring concoction. He ain’t all just smooth vocals and catchy riffs – he’s a storm in a teacup, distilling pain and bravado with a dash of golden-hoppy resilience. It’s more than a toe-tapper – it’s a shoulder to lean on, sometimes a hanky when you fancy a sob, but at its core, it’s George’s two-fingers salute to adversity, a reassuring ear-whisper that indeed, in the end, this will pass.