A solo artist with a song from the heart for everyone.
Like many other artists who know how to "sing the blues", Jodi Jarchow had humble beginnings growing up on a small farm in Wisconsin. "Sweet Jodi" decided she wanted to sing at the age of six and was always climbing on the kitchen table to perform - much to her mother's disapproval.
She taught herself how to play the guitar at sixteen and bought a $75.00 twelve-string that made her fingers bleed. But, she kept on practicing and by the time she was twenty had saved up enough to buy a decent guitar she played at every church function, family gathering or party she could. She wasn't shy.
"Sweet Jodi" started working with another guitarist once a week play in the open area of a small shopping mall. His melody and her harmony were perfect in more ways than one and a year later he proposed. Having exchanged new guitars as wedding gifts, they wrote and sang their promise of love at their wedding. It was about this time her husband, Chris, gave her the title "American Gypsy" which sticks with her to this day.
It wasn't too many years before Chris and his "Sweet Jodi" went into debt, buying sound equipment and performing all over Wisconsin and Minnesota as "Sweet Jodi and the Double Eagle Band" later to be renamed "Wind River." They played some pretty big venues around the Twin Cities and their agent wanted to send them on tour for weeks at a time.
But there were kids to raise, so the happy couple decided they could have just as much fun playing music in the kitchen. Mom and Dad being far away from home just wouldn't work. There were times "American Gypsy" would sneak off in the night to perform in talent shows - and, come home with prize money, an extra $100 for family needs.
The rest of their seventeen years together, before Chris's sudden death in 1996, were spent working, limiting their traveling to the Midwest and singing the whole way. "This is the good life", Chris would say. And it was. But the sudden stillness of his voice, his melody gone, brought Jodi to a place where music was empty. It was quiet for almost a year.
Her broken heart lay in the ashes of her husband and her life. There were times when it was so black and cold, she felt there would never be relief. But through the darkness the light of her inner strength and the joy of her son, Cal, shown through. Her dear friend Dreaminghawk came into their lives and swept her out of the abyss. These two people inspired her to write lyrics that are powerful, some even heart-rending, and when you add the clear, soulful sound of her voice, you can be moved to tears of sorrow or laughter.
She has two CD's of original music to her credit, "American Gypsy" and "Safe Place". Her songs found an audience on MP3.com and, with Dreaminghawk's help and promotion, have been keeping up with the competition in the Minnesota charts.
She jumps on stage at every motorcycle rally and party when the performing bands see her and invite her up. She still isn't shy.
Some of the local bands she has performed with include "Red Line", "Pork Chop", and "Chained Lighting". Her latest projects include writing and performing songs for Minnesota State agencies with an emphasis on diversity issues.
In addition to her numerous performances and appearances, American Gypsy (and her late husband Jackson Sly) created the annual "Apple Jam" in Somerset, Wisconsin. She won the New Richmond, Wisconsin radio valentine contest (with a song written for her husband) and was featured on Beach Radio in Florida for the grand opening of a U.S. Coast Guard Recruiting station. Her songs have been found on the airwaves in Minneapolis, MN, San Francisco, CA and international satellite broadcasts from the Internet. Her music is currently on more than forty stations on MP3.com and numerous other sites throughout the internet.
Some of her live performances and credits include:
- "June Cleaver" hit #1 in Folk on MP3.com April 25, 2002
- Claim to Fame Motorcycle Rally, Geneva, MN (2001 & 2002)
- Dunn Bros. Coffee House, Richfield, MN
- Featured artist on AudioCandy.com - June through September, 2001 & November, 2002
- Four songs by "American Gypsy" made the top 100 for 2001 on AudioCandy.com
- KQRS Radio live appearance (as a member of StrangCloud)
- Featured artist, Profile Music Cafe, Minneapolis, MN
- Big Blue Radio (XM) - Spokane, WA (2001 - 2002)
- St. Croix Valley Riders Chili Feed Motorcycle Rally, Ellsworth, WI (2001 & 2002)
- TV commercial for the "Changing Faces of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources" aired on Warner Brothers (channel 23) - Wrote and performed background song "New Beginning."
- Viet Nam "Twister" Motorcycle Rally, Birnamwod, WI (2001 & 2002)
- Vocalist for LifeTouch convention promotional film
- Wolf's Head Motorcycle Rally, Two Harbors, MN (2002)
- Wrote and performed "Finding The Common Ground" for the 14th Annual Minnesota Crime Victims Conference, Brainerd, MN. (Subsequent use on TV public announcements)
- Wrote and performed "New Beginning" for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 17th Annual Diversity Conference, St. Cloud, MN.
Why this name?
"American Gypsy" is not just a "handle," brand name or other business name. The name "American Gypsy" is a personal as well as business identity that has a spiritual, cultural, heritage and legacy tied directly to Jodi, her late husband and their son. This identity also has strong ties to the birth of the White Buffalo.
Jodi and her late husband, Chris Jarchow, were followers of the Indian ways for most of their lives. His spiritual guide told Chris about a vision of the birth of the White Buffalo and that Chris was to journey to Janesville, WI carrying two messages. Between the time Chris was told of this message and his departure, many people whom he had never met (nor knew him) brought him gifts of tobacco and other individual fetishes to be presented upon his arrival. [On one occasion, an Indian elder brought him tobacco wrapped in traditional skins. This elder had never seen Chris before nor did he "know of him" except through his visions.]
When Chris arrived at the birthplace of the White Buffalo, a spirit-leader was waiting for him. The story of the White Buffalo includes the coming together of all mankind. Chris was the warrior chosen to represent the white-man and was called the "White Warrior." He was one of many called. A blind man by the name of Jason from Texas made the journey to represent the black community and many other spiritual leaders from around the world (including the Dali Lama) were called to this holy place.
"American Gypsy" is the name of Chris's tribe, which includes his family and others who follow the creed and the way of the White Buffalo.
Just months after his paying homage, Chris passed away of a sudden heart attack - at the age of 44. Due to a number of extraordinary circumstances, Jodi and her son lost their home and most of their business as well as all the material things Chris and Jodi had worked hard to leave their son. One of their businesses "American Gypsy Trading Company" (which sells leather apparel at biker shows) remains.
Her CD "American Gypsy" was created specifically as a small piece of history and memory of what she, Chris and their son once shared.
The identity of "American Gypsy", which is a symbol of all her business dealings, her music, her personal identity, creed, sense of community, and the reputation she has build under this identity, is more than just a business or band name. She is "American Gypsy".