Ezra Charles believes he was born to make music.
"It's my life's greatest source of joy to other people," he said. "A band is the absolute greatest creative outlet."
Charles will bring his passion, love, joy and unique sound to Magnolia Aug. 23, when he performs at Urban Cowgirl Dance Hall & Saloon, 10310 FM 1488, just east of the Magnolia city limits.
Urban Cowgirl is the area's newest entertainment hotspot, according to general manager Nancy Nygaard. The former site of Spur's has been completely remodeled and features an indoor and outdoor stage, a party deck, two bars, pool tables, games and even a Cowgirl Boutique.
"This building was in dire need of repairs," Nygaard said. "We painted, pulled up carpet, epoxied the floors, installed new doors, built an outdoor patio and deck area, along with an outdoor stage, enlarged the indoor stage, added a new indoor bar and gave it a fresh new clean look."
Nygaard said the work has impressed customers.
"The response from our customers has been great," she said. "They love the new look of the facility and love to two step on our big dance floor. We also added the Cowgirl Boutique which sells lots of bling – belts, handbags, jewelry, scarves, hats, flip flops, sunglasses and souvenirs. We also have a private party area for special occasions such as birthday, anniversary, bachelor, bachelorette, retirement and Christmas parties. We have live Country and Western bands every Saturday night and mix it up on Friday nights with different types of performances or karaoke. We also offer free wi-fi."
Nygaard is excited about bringing Charles, a longtime stable on the Texas music scene, to the area.
"I've been watching Ezra perform for a long time," she said. "He was a staple at the Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival for years. We are excited to bring his show to Magnolia for everyone to enjoy."
Charles, who is originally from Beaumont, moved to Houston for college years ago, started his first band and never left. That was more than 30 years ago.
Charles credits his band's longevity to its unique style. What started in 1983 as a rockabilly trio evolved into its current setup two years later, when Charles added a three-piece all female horn section, who also serve as the group's backup singers.
"I always thought that would be fun," he said. "This would be extremely difficult to do without them. They are excellent, top notch performers."
Charles describes his as a cross between Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles with a Willie Nelson vocal sound. He said the sound is as unique and rare as a piano player for a front man.
"It's hard to find a band fronted by a piano player," he said "We have been compared to everything from Little Richard, to Ray Charles to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. Our influences are wide-ranging."
"Piano styles started what eventually led to rock 'n' roll," he said. "I don't mean rock music like it is today, but real, true rock 'n' roll."
The band has toured extensively over the years, including South America and Italy. In 2010 the group won the regional contest organized by the Houston Blues Society, earning a trip to Memphis for the International Blue Challenge, where they advanced to the semifinals.
Charles said a large part of the group's success is that they have fun.
'We have a lot of fun on stage, because we love doing this and it seems to transfer into the audience," he said. "When we play it's not hard to listen to us because we draw from a proven sound."
Charles said he is excited to perform at Urban Cowgirl and promises that the show will be fun and exciting.
"It's a great place," he said. "We are excited to play here and everyone that comes will have a great time."
Charles will perform at Urban Cowgirl Aug. 23, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Doors open at 3 p.m. and there is a $10 cover. Call 281-259-6900 for more information, or find Urban Cowgirl on Facebook here.