Originally created 04/10/98

Uncle Sam brings his smooth grooves to civic center

Sam Turner, son of a Baptist minister, is no angel.

In fact, some of the adjectives used to describe Mr. Turner, whose stage name is Uncle Sam, are anything but pious.

Sexy. Sensual. Seductive. Suave. Smooth. Sizzling. Smokey. Steamy. Sumptuous.

He headlines Spring Jam '98 Saturday at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. Other performers include Atlanta's Jagged Edge and Queen Pen. The show starts at 8 p.m. The first 200 tickets sold are $10; all other tickets are $13.

The best adjective to describe his self-titled debut album is gold. It has sold 750,000 copies since it was released in November.

His current single, I Don't Ever Want To See You Again, has earned platinum status, selling more than 1 million copies since its release.

The emotional, heart-wrenching ballad was written, produced and arranged by Nathan Morris of Boyz II Men. It tells the story of a man who loses his woman to his best friend, though it could just as easily apply in the reverse.

He describes his music as "love on wax."

"The women will like this album because it's something that will make them feel sexy. The brothers, they need something to play for the women when they want to get romantic. And this is it," he said in a telephone interview.

Like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and David Ruffin, Uncle Sam was born in Detroit.

His album lends itself to the richness of the classic Motown Sound. Mr. Gaye, Danny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and the artist formerly known as Prince are a few of the soulful balladeers Uncle Sam credits as influences.

Although his songs are a bit steamier than some older folks may be used to, Uncle Sam grew up in a home where music was an expression of faith.

"I grew up in a household that looked upon music as a vehicle for religious testament," said Mr. Turner.

"My parents are thrilled that I've been given the opportunity to have a recording career," he added. "I have their blessings."

Mr. Turner said he has been performing since age 3, when he belted out an old gospel spiritual at his father's church.

He began touring with the gospel musical A Good Man Is Hard To Find while still a teen-ager.

"They didn't care if I could act," he says. "Once they heard me sing, they said, 'We'll teach him how to act.' Outside of elementary school, it was the first play I'd ever seen, much less performed in."

After touring with the company for more than three years, Uncle Sam returned home. He first thought of becoming a pastor, but "God sent me this way," he says of his recording career.

Uncle Sam is the first artist signed to Stonecreek Recordings, a Sony record label headed by Boyz II Men. Group member Wanya Morris signed him after hearing the 26-year-old sing over the telephone.

Uncle Sam remains close to his soulful roots.

"I always wanted to do something positive," he said. "Something that kids could listen to, something that your grandmother could listen to."

In Concert

What: Spring Jam '98, featuring Uncle Sam, Jagged Edge and Queen Pin

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, 601 Seventh St.

Tickets: The first 200 tickets sold are $10; all other tickets are $13. Tickets available at the Civic Center box office, any Ticketmaster location or charge by phone at (706) 828-7700.


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