What do the Kenyon groups “Townships,” “Willows,” & “The Lawnmowers” all have in common? A shared member: James Plunkett ’13. The man himself managed to pay campus a visit this week, having just put out a follow-up to his 2013 solo EP, Ghosts. The new EP is called Doing What I Can, the moniker this time around is “Just The Kids,” and the photo on the cover (by Charlotte Woolf ’12, incidentally) depicts a pair of friends embracing, with a broom, in the basement of the now-demolished Forman House (ex-home of the Food Co-op).
The folky jams found within share related themes like friendship, Kenyon, and the relentless churning of history’s engine, and were written “mainly for the kids that meant it,” as the man himself says on his Bandcamp. Read on for a link to the EP!
Fresh from a semester of post-grad work in Tanzania, Plunkett has clearly been doing a lot of thinking: about love, solitude, Mandela, solitude, trust fund kids, mountains, and fascism, among other topics. All these themes weave and interweave their way in and out of the six songs on the EP: “what if it was legal to love? / to love anyone?” he asks in the anthemic “Cut and Run.” The title track, by contrast, seems to pay an oblique tribute to Plunkett’s friends and family across the United States – as to whether the references to Asheville, North Carolina and Denver, Colorado are deliberate nods to wayward Kenyon alumni Paul Dougherty ’13 and Will Seaton ’13, known friends of Plunkett, we can only guess.
In my opinion, what this EP really manages to showcase – apart from his finger-picking chops – is that James Plunkett is a man with something to say, and he really means every word he sings, whether the subject matter is personal or political. Give it a listen if you like – preferably with lyrics, which are printed over at his Bandcamp.