Sharp Notes January 01 2004

BAD DREAMS SO REAL: Things are beginning to look up for Drew Worsham, the former drummer of Athens jangly/folksy trio Dreams So Real, who has been hospitalized in Savannah since being shot in the head three weeks ago.

Though he still awaits surgery to remove bone fragments in his skull, longtime friend and fellow musician Dodd Ferrelle reports that Worsham has regained some of his vision, which was temporarily lost, and he is once again alert and communicative. What's more, a collection of musician friends including Ferrelle, Tommy Thompson, Bradley Cole Smith, David Franklin, Deja Blue and Bloodkin has organized a benefit show Tuesday, Jan. 6, at Smith's Olde Bar, to raise money to help the uninsured Worsham pay his medical bills.

Worsham was shot early in the morning of Dec. 13, when his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend, Joel Chris Blankenship, entered his home near Brunswick, Ga., and fired a gun at close range into Worsham's head. The ex-boyfriend then kidnapped Worsham's girlfriend, Dara Jo Wasdin, who was with Worsham. Blankenship drove her a few miles away, then led her on foot into a wooded area, where he shot Wasdin and turned the gun on himself. Blankenship died on the spot, and Wasdin died the following day from her wound.

Amazingly, the shot that entered Worsham's skull did not reach his brain, but instead lodged in his eye socket. The surgery is aimed at clearing out bone fragments from near his brain and optic nerve. "The doctors are saying that a million things could go wrong," Ferrelle says, "but none have yet."

As a member of Dreams So Real, Worsham record three well-received albums between 1986 and 1990. He was later a member of Rags with Ferrelle, John Neff (Japancakes, Redneck GReece), Jon Mills (Barbara Cue) and others. More recently, Worsham has played in cover bands on the Georgia coast and worked as a computer technician.

Those wanting to contribute to the fund for Worsham's medical bills can attend the benefit concert, or mail donations to: Drew Worsham Care Fund, Trustee, P.O. Box 316, Jesup, Georgia 31598.

BAND BITS: Lots of doings in the Drive-By Truckers camp: Some time around March, the band's label, New West, will release frontman Patterson Hood's solo CD, Killers & Stars, and reissue DBT's 1998 independent release, Gangstabilly. The group is also working at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., on a new studio album, tentatively titled The Dirty South, for release this summer. Finally, Earl Hicks, who has held down the DBT bass duties since 2000 and before that produced two of the band's albums, has left the group. Veteran Muscle Shoals electric and upright bassist Shonna Isbell steps in as replacement, effectively breaking the band's ol' boys club and hopefully adding some Cassie Gaines-style backing vocals to the mix. ...

After slugging it out for six years, hovering on the verge of something bigger, rock troupe Alastor has called it quits. But, according to group frontwoman Elizabeth Elkins, the group's demise is more an evolution than an end. After entirely changing Alastor's lineup — adding guitarist Chris Skogen, bassist James Salter and drummer Kent Aberle — Elkins realized it was now a different group. "This new band looks and sounds more like Hole or The Distillers, with some Pixies and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club thrown in for good measure," Elkins writes. "Those of you who saw Alastor four years ago know that's not what you witnessed at all." The group, therefore, will now be known as The Swear. "To those of you that scoff at 'the' band trend, please shut the hell up," Elkins continues. "Good names are hard to come by and I don't want to hear any shit about it." ...

Pop-rock quartet Charm School has undergone personnel changes that need to be noted, since they're pretty weird and liable to cause "Three's Company"-style cases of mistaken identity. Bassist Jeff Thompson and drummer Govind Dixit moved away last fall, leaving the band's two frontwomen, Mary O. Harrison and Jenny Hutton, without a backline. In steps Govind's identical twin brother, Raj Dixit, to take over Thompson's bass duties (though Thompson remains involved with making the group's upcoming CD). And just recently, Govind moved back to town, rejoining a lineup that now includes what is without doubt Atlanta's finest identical-twin Indian rhythm section.