this has been me since yesterday
- the story of the album
The music business has been transformed in the last couple of decades, but one of the plus points of the new digital landscape must surely be that technology now makes it possible for a man of 77, who has only ever performed at family gatherings, to release his debut album.
All of the songs on ‘This has been me since yesterday’ were written by Alex Weir, a Glaswegian family man and songwriter who was born in 1940. Alex played guitar and wrote his own songs, but -apart from family parties- he never performed in public. He was a big fan of Bob Dylan and that influence is evident in some of his songs, but he was also influenced by Scottish folk artists like Hamish Imlach and Matt McGinn.
The decision to re-create the songs utilising modern technology was taken after a conversation between Alex and his sons in the autumn of 2016; the subsequent recording sessions, at Stealth Studios in Glasgow, took place over the next nine months whenever time, health and finances allowed. The Weir boys called in a number of musical contacts to flesh out the material and bring the professional sheen which is evident throughout this album. The featured musicians include Alex’s sons Raymond and Graham Weir, Douglas Wilson, Fraser Sneddon, Peter McAteer, Anne Morgan, Danny Mitchell and Tony McCaffrey. The tracks were all co-produced by Ed McArthur and Raymond Weir.
2017 was a very difficult year for the Weir family. Their mother, Frances, died in June and, having devoted several years to being her primary carer, the death of his wife had a profound impact on Alex.
Towards the end of the recording process, his health took a significant dip. After a number of distressing episodes, he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), a progressive brain disorder which impacts on behaviour, cognition, and movement. LBD presents itself through a range of symptoms, including problems with memory, thinking and visual hallucinations. One of its characteristics is that it can become rapidly debilitating and, just a few weeks after the last recording session in September 2017, Alex had deteriorated to the point where he required full-time nursing care.
The title of the album is a phrase (once quoted in a sketch by Billy Connolly) that was once in common usage among Glaswegians of a certain age. It would generally have been used by two people meeting on the street, each comparing notes on how busy they have been. “This has been me since yesterday” might be countered with “Aye, I’ve not sat down since I got up.”
Alex might not be in the best position to enjoy whatever interest will now be generated by his recording debut, but we know at least that he had a great time working on his album. It may have been half a century in the making, but some things are worth taking your time over.
‘This has been me since yesterday’ is available to buy from this site and through Greentrax Records.