Our Story

This web page is first and foremost a forum to celebrate collaborative efforts. Bill Liggett, up until a few years ago, was exclusively a songwriter mostly writing under the pen name of " Greenflea." After many years writing, completely unknown, Bill's brother Jimmy finally persuaded him to hit an open mic. Like most performers just starting out, he was shaky. " I was so nervous, I was literally shaking.. you could see it in my hands , hear it in my voice, it was terrifying.". 

Now, after a few years of " Getting out there " Bill has met quite a few seasoned writers and performers. He's also played some very unique and exciting venues, a few of which are mentioned on this page. In his words, " If not for a few people who have given me encouragement and guidance, to risk leaving some out I'll say that my brother Jimmy , Rick Ledgerwood , Mark Ricky , Karl Hielgiest ( rip ) Larry Sell , Michael Teach of Chicago Acoustic Underground, Pete Krampert , Tim Vulatto, Mike " Lumpy " Juric , Brian and Peral Ratunil ( The Short Punks in Love .. who got me up on stage a few times ) Nancy Miller, .. gosh , I'm leaving plenty out.. anyhow, without those guys , I would have given up long ago... so I guess they are to blame." ( Laughs. )

So here we are now after a few projects have fallen by the wayside as they do with most musicians. Bill is happy to play with whomever, whenever. Bill says " Right now I'm out to just have fun, play songs with my friends when I can and just generally entertain myself and as many others as I can. I want to keep the doors open to anyone who I might  find who has something to offer, to teach and to inspire me."

 So... about the music Bill Liggett and Ruddy Nickel play...

Bill, as explained above, is a prolific songwriter. A wily character who's tough to pin down, but his music has been compared to Leon Redbone, James Taylor, Robert Johnson, Taj Mahal, and Bruce Cockburn, Nick Drake ,Dan Hicks , Keb Mo on and on... Bill’s crisp vocals and thoughtful, intelligent lyrics are well complemented by his driving, rhythmic/ percussive and melodic finger-picking guitar -- a style built on the foundations of the great blues/Jazz acoustic traditions with the likes of Mississippi John Hurt and Manse Lipscomb and even Django Rinehardt. Bill’s chord progressions are complex with jazzy melodies carried by rhythmic bass lines adapted to a variety of genres that include blues, folk, classical and jazz.  Uhhh , did I say His sound is unique and original?

Bill's singer/songwriter artistry is the mainstay of the live performances. In addition , he plays a few carefully chosen cover songs from great artists such as Hoagy Carmichael, Lennon / Mc Cartney, Ian Anderson, Tom Waites, and George Gershwyn to name a few.  In Bill's words, "It's all about influences. At this moment in time we have the benifit of so many great artists, musicians, composers and poets who came before. The more I listen and expand my influences, the further I can reach musically."

Bill sometimes performs as a solo artist.  But mostly he has been performing as" Ruddy Nickel", which is currently, just himself and Larry Sell on harmonica, percussion and backup vocals. Bill and Larry met at Julie's Coffee Shop open mic in Lake Villa in the fall of 2012 and have been playing together ever since.
Larry's harmonica playing has been described as lyrical, melodic and bluesy/jazzy. It is commonly commented that Larry and Bill's styles "blend" well together.

Larry took to the harmonica back in his teen years; it packed well for his adventures into the wilderness and woodlands. In college, he played in a group playing bluegrass and fiddle tunes. A few years later, In the early 80's in Omaha, NE, he played acoustic blues in clubs with Jon Lawton who played music from the likes of  Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis, Ledbelly, etc on classic instruments from the early 20th century. Larry also played some electric blues at that time with Lawton. During his 3 years in Omaha, Larry shared a house with a percussionist named Michael Fitzsimmons with a basement full of percussion instruments from the world over. Just about every evening was a drumming extravaganza with Mike and whoever else cared to join in. Talk about therapy!!! It wasn't until meeting Bill that Larry got back to taking music more seriously again finding inspiration from Howard Levy and many of the other great harmonica players revolutionizing the instrument today, and it's been one more fun adventure.

Along with Bill and Larry are a host of other seasoned Blues / Jazz based talents such as Chris Sipos , Rick Ledgerwood , Kevin Lingen and many others in various backgrounds and talents.

"There is so much I want to do musically," says Bill, "but mostly I want to keep writing music. I want to encourage others to create and share their own music."

"I'm always looking for places to play that encourage the arts, promote creativity and provide a great environment for audiences to listen."......