Eric Peltoniemi, who has helped lead St. Paul label Red House Records to international cachet as a premier purveyor of roots and Americana, has announced that he’s retiring after 50 years in the music business. Peltoniemi has been with Red House for three decades, the last ten years as president.
“I am extremely proud of what we have all accomplished here for the last 30 years,” said Peltoniemi in a press release. “Red House Records’ reputation and prestige remain at the top of the folk and roots music genres. We currently have one of our best artist rosters ever, not to mention a terrific and talented staff ready to grab the torch and take things into the future.”
Beth Friend, the label’s owner, will assume Peltoniemi’s role while the retiring president remains affiliated with the label on a consulting basis. Along with the staffing change, two current Red House employees will be promoted: VP Chris Frymire will become executive vice president, and Angie Carlson will go from director of publicity to vice president of A&R and promotion.
An experienced musician, Peltoniemi now “plans to devote more energy to writing and creative endeavors,” according to the press release.
Founded by the late Bob Feldman in 1983, Red House Records is “the longest-running independent folk and roots label in the country,” as Andrea Swensson pointed out in a 2013 history of the label. Peltoniemi was Feldman’s first hire; Friend was the founder’s wife and continued to run the company after her husband’s death in 2006. The label is home to a number of prominent national and local artists including Charlie Parr, the Cactus Blossoms, and the Pines.
“Bob just had that passion and intense drive and vision for this music, and we’ve tried to carry that on since he passed,” Peltoniemi told Swensson. “In some ways we’re kind of like an old traditional 20th century label, but we’re trying to bring some of those sensibilities from the 20th century into a more 21st century way of doing business and delivering music to people. But I think it’s that passion that Bob originally gave to that label that’s kept it alive.”