Louis Pain



Louis "King Louie" Pain
, dubbed “Portland’s boss of the B-3” by The Oregonian, is a musician’s musician. 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, and why he is an Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee.

It’s been that way since Louis started playing professionally in his hometown of San Francisco back in 1970.  He worked with some of the top musicians in the Bay Area in a variety of genres, including funk guitarist Bruce Conte (Tower of Power), jazz saxophonist Jules Broussard (Ray Charles, Santana), gospel vocalist Dorothy Morrison (“Oh, Happy Day”), 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, LaRhonda Steele, Lloyd Jones, Andy Stokes, and Lisa Mann, as well as with jazz musicians Mel Brown, Thara Memory, Renato Caranto, 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 (3 times), the Shirelles, and now-departed musical giants Solomon Burke, Howard Tate, and Bo Diddley.


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, organizing successful soul music tributes featuring the Portland Soul All-Stars (aka King Louie's Blues Revue), co-leading King Louie & LaRhonda Steele, and leading the King Louie Organ Trio

With LaRhonda, Louis performed at Italy's prestigious Porretta Soul Festival in 2017 and at Colombia's Cali Blues & Folk Festival in 2018.  At the latter event, the pair performed and participated in educational activities in five different cities over eight days.  More recently, the King Louie Organ Trio (featuring Louis, Renato Caranto, and Edwin Coleman III performing their original instrumentals) has begun playing nightclub & festival sets in support of their debut CD, "It's About Time."

Louis performed approximately 1,500 times at Portland's premier music nightclub, Jimmy Mak's, during that storied venue's 20-year run, including approximately 1,000 appearances on Thursday nights as the glue of the Mel Brown B-3 Organ Group. Louis has also performed innumerable times at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival over the decades. 

In the recording studio, Louis has played on and/or produced or co-produced numerous CDs (released on his own "Shoug Records" label).  His two most recent Shoug releases—featuring King Louie & LaRhonda Steele and King Louie’s Blues Revue—received 4-star raves from prestigious Downbeat Magazine.  (The King Louie Organ Trio's debut CD is to be reviewed in the August 2019 issue of Downbeat.)

In addition to performing, Louis rents out the best Hammond organs in the Northwest (Pain Organ Rental Service), 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.

[Note: On March 22, Louis suffered a major heart attack.  But he was able to play at the King Louie Organ Trio's two CD release events in April, and he's back performing regularly after completing the standard post-heart attack cardiac rehab.  To learn more about the heart attack and check out Louis' interviews about that incident--and the new CD--go to the April 7th entry under the "News" tab at this website.]