I met Bob Feldman when I moved to St. Paul to work for Prairie Home Companion in the fall of 2000. Turned out he and his family lived right around the corner from the duplex I had just moved into, and I ran into him while walking my dog in the morning. The thing that immediately jumped out at me about Bob was how enthusiastic and passionate he was about the artists on his label. At the time, he was particularly excited about the new Eliza Gilkyson CD, “Hard Times In Babylon” that had just been released. Eliza was new to the label at the time, and this was her first release on Red House. Bob’s passion for Eliza and her music was unbridled. He was convinced that there were big things coming her way.
Later on, anytime I’d run into Bob, whether it was while walking the dog, or at a venue, or more likely when he was sneaking into the neighborhood coffee joint to bag a few chocolate chip cookies for the road, we’d blab about music…what Greg Brown was working on lately, what new releases were coming out, concerts we’ve been to, new and up-and-coming talent. It was obvious to me that he was in this business because he loved it wholeheartedly. He was doing what he loved, and who can’t admire that?
Eventually, I went to work for him. [He hired me even though I wasn’t an “Andy of Mayberry” fan, which I found out later was typically a pre-requisite to getting hired.] Even though Bob would often bemoan the state of the music business, it was obvious to me that his passion for the music and the artists were the things driving him. He poured his heart and soul into putting out great folk music and the world of folk music is a better place for it. Thanks Bob!