Louis Pain, dubbed “Portland’s boss of the B-3” by The Oregonian, is a musician’s musician. (Just read the testimonial quotes at this site’s “Home” page to confirm that.) When called upon, Louis is a dynamic soloist, but he specializes in the subtle art of making the musicians and vocalists he works with sound their best. For him, the song’s the thing, not showing off. That’s why he’s always in demand with his peers.
It’s been that way since Louis started playing professionally in his hometown of San Francisco back in 1970. Starting out in “Top 40” bands, Louis quickly graduated to playing in a variety of genres with some of the best musicians in the Bay Area, including funk guitarist Bruce Conte (Tower of Power), jazz saxophonist Jules Broussard (Ray Charles, Santana), gospel vocalist Dorothy Morrison (Edwin Hawkins Singers), and the late rock/jazz saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus (Doobie Bros & Steely Dan).
Since moving to Portland in ‘86, Louis has continued the trend, working regularly with top Portland blues/soul artists including the late, great Paul deLay and Linda Hornbuckle, Curtis Salgado, Lloyd Jones, Andy Stokes, and Lisa Mann, as well as with jazz musicians Mel Brown, Thara Memory, Dan Faehnle, and Dan Balmer. Louis also is the “first call” organist to back visiting musical legends, who have included Bernard “Pretty” Purdie,” Phil Upchurch, Martha Reeves, the Shirelles, and now-departed musical giants Solomon Burke, Howard Tate, and Bo Diddley.
In the past few years, Louis has added some uber-talented young musicians to his list of collaborators, including Austin-based blues-rock singer/songwriter/guitarist Ty Curtisand NYC-based jazz saxophonist Hailey Niswanger.
In addition to working extensively as a sideman, Louis has blossomed as a bandleader in Portland, co-leading King Louie & Baby James with the late, great NW vocalist “Sweet Baby James” Benton, co-leading “King Louie & LaRhonda Steele,” and organizing a series of successful soul music tributes featuring the Portland Soul All-Stars (aka King Louie’s Portland Blues Revue). Louis also has frequently led bands for weddings and corporate gigs, becoming Nike’s go-to musical contractor along the way.
In addition to freelancing as a sideman and leading his own groups, Louis rents out the best Hammond organs in the NW, teaches music, and hangs out at his Washougal, WA home with his wife/manager Tracy Turner-Pain (Soul Sisters Productions, LLC) and their children, grandchildren, & remarkably friendly cats.