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Striking a chord
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 Two young, local musicians have played their music at bars, restaurants and fairs all over Newton County. Now they are starting to reach a much larger audience with performances all over Georgia and the Southeast, the release of studio albums and personal music Web sites.

Clint Bussey

Clint Bussey, 25, wants to make music and have lots of people listening to it.

Bussey a mild-mannered construction sub-contractor by day, now mainly a singer and guitar player, started singing and tickling the ivories with his mother when he was a young boy.

"I've been playing music as a hobby since I was five," Bussey said.

At age 13, Bussey's older brother moved out of their parents' house and left behind his guitar. Bussey picked it up, started strumming and hasn't put the instrument down since.

"I literally borrowed it for five years," Bussey said.

He now owns several of his own - his favorite a Martin brand - on which he plays his original music.

For more than half of his life Bussey lived in Newton County, and six months ago he packed up and headed for the college music scene in Athens.

He still regularly plays in the area, and every Tuesday night at Porterdale Bar and Grill's open mic night.

"It gives people an opportunity to show off their music, who don't necessarily have their foot in the door yet," Bussey said.

He also has played solo and with his band - Before the Solstice - at Amici's, The Depot and Half Moon Café in Covington and all around the greater Atlanta metro area at venues such as the Masquerade and Double D's.

Bussey joined with the other two members of Before the Solstice about five months ago and they have already created a seven-song demo and are working on a studio album for release next summer.

"I've put a lot of time on that one because I want it to be super, super good," Bussey said.

Bussey will also release a 10-song solo studio album in October, but said he would rather make it big with the band - which currently is looking for another drummer.

"My dream would be touring all over the place and making a definite impression on the future of the music industry," Bussey said. "I want to make my mark."

He said he would be satisfied with regional fame, but the lure of money and other perks that come with national recognition leave him with stars in his eyes.

Bussey describes his music as an experimental mix of indie rock. He said most people compare his voice to Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave and Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace.

While these comparisons represent a variety of vocal styles, so does Bussey's catalogue.

He also plays some covers. He said his most requested covers are "Aerials" by System of a Down, "Stand by Me" by The Drifters and "Creep" by Radiohead.

Although Bussey likes to please a crowd, especially one with a bit of firewater in them, he wants to focus on familiarizing people with his original work.

"I love music," Bussey said, "and what I love most is if I see people in the audience singing my songs."