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77-year-old's debut album has 'remarkable effect' on dementia

A drummer from Langley has told of the ‘remarkable effect’ music has had on his 77-year-old father with dementia, who has released his first album after decades of songwriting.

Since the mid-Sixties, Glaswegian musician Alex Weir has been writing and recording an array of songs at home with no intention of releasing them to the public.

His son Graham, of Hempson Avenue, describes his father as a ‘quiet and unassuming man’ who did not think people would want to hear his tracks and only ever performed at family parties.

Following a conversation with Graham and his other son Raymond in autumn 2016, Alex, whose musical heroes include Bob Dylan, agreed to record his songs at Glasgow’s Stealth Studios.

Graham and Raymond, who played in bands during the Eighties, got in touch with their contacts from Glasgow’s music scene for assistance, including Danny Mitchell, who has written for Bob Geldof.

“I sent him across a couple of tracks and he loved it; he said he wanted to be involved,” said Graham. “When I said (to his father) Danny wants to play on your album he was absolutely thrilled.”

The album, This Has Been Me Since Yesterday, has now been released, with Alex on

vocals, Graham on drums and Raymond on acoustic guitar, keyboard, percussion and backing vocals. Other musicians, including Danny Mitchell, play on various tracks.

Work at the studio was delayed in June last year after Alex’s wife Frances died of cancer, a loss which had a profound impact on Alex.

In December, towards the end of the recording process, Alex was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, a progressive brain disorder which affects behaviour, cognition and movement.

Graham says his father, who was in a wheelchair, experienced hallucinations and delusions that he and his late wife were being attacked.

After his sons told him around April that the record was ready for release, Graham said he saw a ‘remarkable change’ in his father.

“He’s now walking about, he’s much more attuned to what’s happening.”

Graham, 56, who works for Ladbrokes Coral, referred to media coverage of music helping dementia sufferers by taking their memories back.

“In my dad’s case there’s absolute evidence that this has been a tonic for him,” said Graham.

He knows his dad will never be cured but hopes his musical success will provide a much- needed boost to improve his quality of life.

The album has been well-received, both in Scotland, where it has been discussed and played on BBC Radio Scotland, and also further afield.

Graham and Raymond have contacted American radio stations to ask if they are interesting in playing the music, which has a Americana/country feel.

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