Woodstock music duo succeeds in spite of mental illness

  • On Saturday, March 16, Vagabond Angels will host a CD release party at Stage Left Café in Woodstock. Rikki Lee Travolta, left, and Joey Broman met through Thresholds, which provides support for people living with mental illness.

    On Saturday, March 16, Vagabond Angels will host a CD release party at Stage Left Café in Woodstock. Rikki Lee Travolta, left, and Joey Broman met through Thresholds, which provides support for people living with mental illness. Courtesy of Vagabond

  • The cover art for Vagabond's "Man on Fire," courtesy of Jim Pierce of Downtown Photo in Crystal Lake.

    The cover art for Vagabond's "Man on Fire," courtesy of Jim Pierce of Downtown Photo in Crystal Lake. Courtesy of Vagabond

 
 
Updated 3/7/2019 10:53 AM

Woodstock-based band Vagabond Angels will be hosting a CD release party from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at Stage Left Café, 125 W. Van Buren St., Woodstock.

Stage Left Café is adjacent to the landmark Woodstock Opera House on the historic Woodstock Square.

 

Scheduled to launch Vagabond Angels' album "Man On Fire," visitors will have the chance to hear the album, as well as interesting stories on the different inspirations of each song. Rikki Lee Travolta and Joey Broman also will play a few acoustic songs live.

The album is a victory lap of sorts for Travolta and Broman. The duo met through Thresholds, a Chicago area organization that provides support for people living with mental illness.

The organization has offices in Chicago and suburbs. Travolta and Broman met through the Woodstock branch.

Travolta had been diagnosed with severe mental illness in 2008, forcing his retirement from the entertainment world. However, inspired by the success of his 2013 memoir "Unbecoming Travolta," he returned to the stage in 2016, earning a Broadway World Chicago Theatre Awards nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of R.P. McMurphy in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Like Travolta, Broman overcame many obstacles to be in a position to record "Man on Fire." Broman has never let being branded with mental illness deter him from being a contributing member of society. He gives music lessons in the Woodstock area, even teaching some students who can't afford lessons for free.

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But it's not living with mental illness that defines the duo. What defines them is their dedication to the craft of making music.

"Each song has a story behind it," said Travolta. "Each song has its own deeper meaning."

For those who like what they hear, "Man On Fire" CDs will be available for purchase at the event for $9.99 for the 13-track album. Those unable to attend the March 16 music event can purchase the album via Amazon or the CD Baby Music Store.

The free event is open to the public.

The Woodstock duo wrote all the songs on the 13-cut album. The sound is a radio-friendly merge of rock, pop, and country.

The "Man on Fire" album was recorded at Backstage Audio and Recording in Northbrook by producer David M. Busscher.

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