Wilson to headline Soulfest 2013

ALBANY, Ga. -- Fresh off his coronation as BET Cadillac Lifetime Achievement Award winner, modern-day King of Soul Charlie Wilson is bringing his one-of-a-kind voice and showmanship to the Albany Civic Center Saturday as headliner of Summer Soulfest 2013.

Wilson, former lead singer of the Gap Band and a six-time solo Grammy nominee whose super hit "There Goes My Baby" was named the No. 1 urban adult song for all of 2009 by Billboard magazine, will join SoulMusic Hall of Fame members The Whispers, and Southern blues/soul favorites T.K. Soul and Donnie Ray in an unforgettable evening to wind down the summer of '13.

"Charlie Wilson is the next thing to Beyonce when it comes to Soul superstars," Odyssey Records owner and event co-promoter Gilbert Udoto said. "I've been trying to get him to come here for years, and the stars just lined up right for us this year. Charlie Wilson puts on a show like no one else does; he'll have the full band, the dancers, the choreography.

"The response we've gotten since we announced this show has been phenomenal. We're getting ticket orders from all over Georgia and all over the South. I wouldn't be surprised if we had a sold-out show."

In addition to receiving BET and Soul Train Icon awards, Wilson has been a fixture on the pop and R&B charts since leaving the Gap Band ("You Dropped a Bomb on Me") in the late 1980s. He's scored platinum or gold sales on albums "Bridging the Gap," "Charlie, Last Name Wilson," "Uncle Charlie," "Just Charlie" and "Love, Charlie."

From those chart-topping albums have come some of the greatest No. 1 Soul hits of the last three decades: "Without You," "Magic," "Life of the Party," "My Love Is All I Have," "You Are" and "There Goes My Baby." The latter two hits spent a total of 28 weeks atop the Soul/R&B charts.

An artist whose musical talents transcend time, Wilson has been called on by such contemporary superstars as Mystikal, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg and Kanye West for collaborations that have won him three generations of fans.

But having Wilson as a headliner was not enough for Udoto.

"I told the booking agent, 'You can't give us just chicken in Albany; we want some fish and a little bit of everything to go with it,'" Udoto said. "He said, 'That can't work,' but I told him, 'I'm from Albany, and I know the people here. We want some collard greens and neckbone, too.'

"The Whispers are going to push Charlie to the top of his game, and T.K. Soul and Donnie Ray offer some blues and Southern Soul to spice things up."

The Whispers, formed in the early '60s by twin brothers Wallace and Walter Scott, have carved a career that is a match for headliner Wilson. The Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award-winners have scored platinum or gold albums in three separate decades with their releases "The Whispers" (1979), "Just Gets Better With Time" (1987), "Imagination" (1980) and "More of the Night" (1990).

Those works include such timeless hits as "Rock Steady," "And the Beat Goes On," "Lady," "It's a Love Thing," "Tonight" and "Innocent."

T.K. Soul's latest disc "Ghetto Superstar" joins his acclaimed releases "Undisputed," "The Bad Boy of Southern Soul" and "The Evolution of Soul;" while Donnie Ray's latest album "I'm Going Back," which includes the hot single "A Letter to My Baby," is part of a discography that includes "It's BYOB," "I'll Be Good to You," "Smooth Operator" and "Let's Go Dancing."

"If you're going to see Charlie this year, you're going to have to come to Albany," said Udoto, whose Odyssey records is joining Just Rite Auto Sales to present Summer Soulfest. "The people who know and support me know that I have been working to put this show together for some time. It's going to be a perfect summer treat.

"I knew this was a hot show when I got on the plane to return (to Albany) from my village (in Africa), and the first thing anyone asked me on the plane was how to get tickets for the show."

Tickets are available at Odyssey Records, the Sandtrap Lounge, Big Daddy's Lounge, Just Rite Auto Sales, at the Civic Center box office and at all Ticketmaster locations. Information is available by calling (229) 436-9910 or (229) 438-3804.

Summerfest kicks off at 7 p.m.