baritone/bass singer from Sikeston, Missouri, who was brought up in
Anderson, Indiana, and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, while still in his
teens. There he went to David
Lipscomb College, whilst free-lancing on the side as a session singer.
In 1952, he
graduated with a degree in Mathematics. A year later, he was singing bass
with The Anita Kerr Singers.
There was also a pared down version of The Anita Kerr Singers known
as The Anita Kerr Quartet who won the Arthur
Godfrey Talent Scouts Show in 1956, decades before American Idol. As a
result, they became a staple on his radio and TV programs until his
retirement. They even
rearranged their recording schedules in Nashville so they could go to The
Big Apple and participate in Arthur’s shows. In 1965, the combo’s
reputation was solidified with a pair of Grammy wins for Best Religious
Recording and Best Recording by a Vocal Group for their collaboration with
George Beverly Shea, Southland
Louis moonlighted by filling in when needed as an ersatz member of The Jordanaires.
In the 1970s, they would frequently cross paths in the recording
studios. A case in point is
Gene Watson’s 1978 LP, Reflections,
which featured the vocal talents of Louis, as well as Hoyt Hawkins, Neil
Matthews, Jr., and Gordon Stoker.
They sang harmony on three songs: “I Wonder How it is in Colorado”;
“Mama Sold Roses”; and, “Take off Them Shoes”. About a decade later, Louis reunited
with Gene on his 1987 album, Honky Tonk Crazy.
In the 1990s,
now a veteran of the Nashville music scene, Louis was just hitting his
stride. He appeared on
Confederate Railroad’s Greatest
Hits, Etta James’ Love’s
Been Rough on Me, and Jimmy Dean’s Inspirational Songs.
In 1997, he was one of the original cast members of the Broadway
musical, Violet, along with his
fellow Jordanaires. He became an official, full-time Jordanaire in 1999, when baritone Duane West fell
ill. In 2000, Neal Matthews,
Jr. passed away and Louis became the group’s arranger.
He opened the
new millennium by celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary with
his wife, Mary Ann, in 2001.
In 2003, the
shelves of music stores were filled with CDs bearing Louis’s name,
including George Jones’ Gospel
Collection, Reba McEntire’s Room to Breathe, and Dolly
Parton’s For God and Country. He appeared on a pair of duets
compilations in 2008: George
Jones’ Burn Your Playhouse
Down: The Unreleased Duets
and Elvis Presley’s Christmas
Some of the
artists with whom he has worked include Eddy Arnold, Garth Brooks, Perry
Como, Floyd Cramer, Red Foley, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt,
Engelbert Humperdinck, Burl Ives, Brenda Lee, Jim
Reeves, Kenny Rogers, and Randy Travis.
In his copious
free time, he has also lent his vocal talents to commercials and movie and
TV soundtracks. His television
credits include The Country Music Association Awards, The Music City News
Awards, and a regular gig on The Statler Brothers Show.
to the first half-century of his career as a “warm-up” and is
now ready for the big show.