Red House Records
|Red House Records|
|Genre||Independent folk, folk, Americana|
|Country of origin||U.S.|
|Location||St. Paul, Minnesota|
Red House Records is an independent Grammy-winning folk, roots, and Americana record label. Officially founded in 1983 by Bob Feldman after seeing a performance by Iowa folk singer Greg Brown, the label helped bring Brown’s music to a wider audience. The label continues to produce folk and roots singer-songwriters today. It is currently based in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The label is named for a farmhouse in Iowa where Brown was living when he started it. After Brown's albums 44 & 66 and The Iowa Waltz were released in 1981 and 1982, it briefly went dormant until he met Bob Feldman in 1983. Feldman took over operation of the record label, while Brown focused on his musical endeavors, as he had just signed on to regularly perform on the radio program A Prairie Home Companion. Feldman was known for his business philosophy of wanting "to provide a home and environment in which creative artists can make albums in total freedom—without interference from mogul types just looking for the next hit single." The first album released on the newly restarted label was Brown's In the Dark with You.
Over the next few years, the label focused on publishing work by musicians in the upper Midwest, including Spider John Koerner, Prudence Johnson, Peter Ostroushko, Rio Nido, Jorma Kaukonen and John Gorka. The label weathered difficult conditions as the music industry transitioned from vinyl to compact discs, and started signing established artists from across the U.S. Utah Phillips, Tom Paxton, Norman Blake, Eliza Gilkyson, Loudon Wainwright III, Robin and Linda Williams, Cliff Eberhardt, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott are among the dozens of performers who have released music through Red House. Elliot's South Coast won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album in 1996. Eberhardt's album, The High Above and the Down Below, released by Red House in 2007, was named one of the TOP 5 of 2007 by USA Today. Other recordings from the label have won about a dozen Indie Awards from the Association for Independent Music (AFIM) and the National Association of Independent Record Distributors (NAIRD). The label has released a number of compilation albums, including A Nod to Bob, which is described by Red House as a tribute from a Minnesota label to a favorite native son.
Feldman continued to head the company until his health deteriorated in late 2005. A few weeks after leaving work, he died on January 11, 2006 at the age of 56.
Red House Records continues its focus on putting out music from artists they love to work with. The label continues to operate independently, putting out albums from folk and roots artists like Jorma Kaukonen, Eliza Gilkyson, The Wailin' Jennys, Lucy Kaplansky, Robin & Linda Williams, John Gorka, Dale Watson, to developing newer acts in the roots world such as The Pines, The Cactus Blossoms, and Charlie Parr.
Red House has also released music from other genres, including Steady As She Goes by the rock group Hot Tuna, and the jazz record Lock My Heart, by Heather Masse (of The Wailin' Jennys) and Dick Hyman.
Red House Records marked its 30th anniversary in 2013.
- Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen (2002-11-24). "Industry Profile: Bob Feldman". CelebrityAccess. Retrieved 2006-04-08.
- Paste Staff (2002-11-24). "Red House Records President Bob Feldman Dies at 56". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
- Bream, Jon (2006-01-12). "Folk-music impresario Bob Feldman dies". Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota: Star Tribune. Retrieved 2006-04-08.