Folk-music impresario Bob Feldman dies
He was president of the St. Paul-based Red House Records and a national force in folk music.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune
January 12, 2006

Bob Feldman, president of St. Paul's award-winning Red House Records and a national force in the folk-music movement, died Wednesday afternoon at his home in St. Paul. He was 56. "It was a shock," said Chris Frymire, Red House's vice president of operations. "We expected him at work tomorrow." Feldman had not been at work since the end of December, but Frymire said "it was nothing we thought was serious." As of late Wednesday night, Frymire had no details about Feldman's death. "His impact was huge," said Bill Kubeczko, director of the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. "He was well-respected nationally and internationally. I'd go to London and see Red House records displayed prominently in the stores. He gave a platform and voice to a lot of musicians on a big scale."

In 1983, Feldman restarted Red House, Iowa singer-songwriter Greg Brown's dormant label. Over the years, Red House's roster has included a who's who of contemporary and old-school folk music, including Rosalie Sorrels, Utah Phillips, Adrian Legg, Eliza Gilkyson, Loudon Wainwright III, Robin and Linda Williams, Claudia Schmidt, Greg Brown and Ramblin' Jack Elliott, whose "South Coast" won a Grammy for best traditional folk album in 1996. The roster also featured many Minnesota artists, including Spider John Koerner, Prudence Johnson, Peter Ostroushko and John Gorka. In addition, Feldman put together compilation albums with themes.

The 1998 tribute to Pete Seeger, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," featured performances by such heavyweights as Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, the Indigo Girls, Judy Collins and Jackson Browne. Red House has received several awards from NAIRD, an independent music association, and a handful of Grammy nominations. Red House has put out about 180 albums over the years; it grosses between $2 million and $3 million annually, according to Frymire. Feldman, who grew up in Florida, started teaching high school classes about business in Minnesota in the early '80s, and he actually resurrected Red House while still teaching. In the late '80s and early '90s, Feldman also organized Summerfolk, a Twin Cities folk-music festival, and he was a folk-music DJ on KFAI-FM.

Feldman is survived by his wife, Beth Friend, and their son, Ari; his parents and a brother. Funeral arrangements are pending. Jon Bream o 612-673-1719

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