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With a little help from his friends

You seem very well, then there's a tremor ... /You are very well until they look at you like you're completely out of your head.
Debbie Norton of Where's Anita? wrote and sings those words on "Potion #99," a song about Tourette Syndrome that appears on Welcome Companions, a new benefit CD for the Tourette Syndrome Association of Georgia. The TSA provides assistance for patients and their families who struggle to live with Tourette Syndrome, the complex neurological disorder characterized by unwanted movements or utterances.
Athens musician and author Rick Fowler teamed up with several other well-known area musicians — including Jack Logan, Bill Mallonee and former R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry — to record the album, released on Athens indie label Polyglot. Fowler — himself a Tourette sufferer who wrote a book on the topic, The Unwelcome Companion: An Insider's View of Tourette Syndrome — manages a successful career as an audio engineer, session musician and touring guitarist. Fowler, who wrote and plays on most of Welcome Companions, organized the project.
"I'm doing what I can to help people understand Tourette Syndrome," Fowler says. "But we also want people to enjoy the record purely as a musical statement as well. It's just some rock 'n' roll for a good cause."
Notably, Bill Berry's contribution marks his first appearance on record since leaving R.E.M. He co-wrote and plays on the instrumental "Riviera Nap," and also provides percussion on several other tracks. "Rick's goal is to help fund more aggressive research into this ailment and I was glad to help," the reclusive Berry said in a statement. The project offers Berry the opportunity "to contribute to a great cause as well as to challenge my own musical capabilities after a three-year hiatus," he said. "I really enjoyed being a small part of it." --
Welcome Companions is available in stores or through www.fowlercd.com.