Brothers from Richmond’s Ruth Good Discuss Debut EP ‘Spliff’ Ahead of Smatter Show Tonight

by | Nov 21, 2017 | MUSIC

Whenever siblings or family members get together to make music it’s always a good time and there’s always a good story (or five) to be told. You can feel the closeness and love in the music, making it all the more fun to listen to.

Such was the case when I chatted with brothers Jonathan (JP) and Wes Parker, the duo behind Ruth Good, an up and coming bedroom/indie pop band in Richmond’s music scene.

You might recognize Wes’ name from his solo projects, or his bass playing and songwriting in the indie pop band Camp Howard. The two also play in Poser, a local jazz/alt-rock band along with their brother Alan, but the brothers have recently been toiling away at their own project, much different than the music they both have been making. During our chat at Chiocca’s on a rainy evening over beers recently, we talked music, Stranger Things feelings, musician beefs, and everything in-between, but more importantly, their new debut EP, Spliff.

The boys just dropped the seven-track EP via Richmond label  Citrus City Records and musically, it ebbs and flows ever so slightly depending on who’s singing on which track.

The two started recording around April and into the summer, at what they call “Chili Dog”, which is really their dad’s house, in Bon Air.

“Getting out to Chili Dog enables us to get some decent sounding drum takes and experiment with micing drums,” JP said.

But the brothers also did a fair amount individually in their own houses for the split EP, with the first four tracks attributed all to Wes, and the last half of Spliff featuring all vocals and instruments by JP. Wes does all the instruments on his songs and JP plays them all on his, with mostly separate writing. Their brother Alan also plays bass and lead guitar on “Shooting Range” and lap steel on “Ice Water” making it truly a DIY family affair.

“That’s why they all sound kind of different and the mix is all different,” JP said.“I have equipment that I’ve had forever, but we recently got this analog {mixing} board that was given to us from a friend of mine (David Wattenbaugh} who works at Overcoast Music, ” he added explaining the recording process.

Spliff draws you in from the get-go with the catchy 42-second intro, “Mosquitoes”, and keeps your interest piqued with tracks like “Milkshake Boyz” and the second track, “Got My Penz” is equally catchy, fun, and poppy- paving the way for the rest of the EP.  The love song called “YLIF” (Your Love Is Enough) is one of my favorites and a bit of a different tone, and very personal for JP.

“When I moved back from Charlottesville, that’s the reason we were both ready to start working on music, we were both so bent out of shape,” JP said of the song. “It’s not the first time I’ve gone through shit like that, but {I had} anxiety to the point where you’re always at a simmer…I wasn’t really working and I remember lying on the living room floor in between recording takes…”

At the time, both brothers were going through serious breakups, and with any sort of heartbreak or pain, stems good music.

“I think recording and having something to focus on was our thing,” Wes added.

JP and Wes formed Ruth Good, which is named after their grandmother, around the time JP moved back from Charlottesville, but it wasn’t really a conscious effort, they just wanted to make music and get it out there.

“At that point, we were up at Shamrock Pub and it was just kind of a fantasy at that point,” Wes said. “I wanted it to happen I just didn’t know if it really would.”

JP added the two talked about putting their music out when they started recording material at their dad’s house. Wes was also writing extra songs that didn’t make it into Camp Howard’s sets that he wanted to put to use.

“We never really started Ruth Good, but we started recording each other’s own songs,” JP said. “Wes had songs that Camp Howard wasn’t necessarily going to do…”

JP described their sound as “slacker pop, jangles, and weed” which I think pretty much sums it up, but I will let you guys be the judge. “Slacker Pop” was actually a term given to them by Manny Lemus, the mastermind behind Citrus City, whom they met through fellow Citrus City band Lance Bangs. Lemus found the duo’s music online and a partnership sparked from there.

“Weston put up some songs online and Manny listened to them and was like ‘Dude this awesome take ’em down! We’ve got to do a tape'” said JP.

After that, the two dropped Spliff Oct. 18 and listeners will be able to cop cassettes courtesy of Citrus City.

Ruth Good hope to embark on a mini-tour sometime soon perhaps by next year, and the brothers are already recording new material and hoping to churn that out sometime in the spring so be in the lookout for those as well.

You can catch Ruth Good performing tonight, Nov. 21 at Strange Matter alongside Furnsss, Joy Again, and fellow Richmond band Big Baby. Doors: 8PM. Music: 9PM $7 cover.

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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