Jack Habegger has played in the Olympia, Washington bands Pigtails and Foreign Powers, but 2021 has seen the rise of his new “quasi-solo” project, Jack Habegger’s Celebrity Telethon. The Telethon’s first release, January’s Oy Vey! EP, came out on limited cassette and vinyl from Portland’s Bud Tapes (Helens, Balloon Club, Wyatt Smith). Just a few months later, Habegger and crew are back with the (for now, at least) one-off single “Gretchen Took a Ride”, premiering today on Rosy Overdrive.
“Gretchen Took a Ride” is largely a collaboration between Habegger and Jordan Krimston (Weatherbox, The Obsessives, a solo career), who mixed the song and played “most of the instruments”, and also features cello from Addison Clark (who also appeared on Oy Vey!). Habegger has a warm voice that reminds me of fellow indie-country bands like Friendship, Half Stack, and State Champion, but the Celebrity Telethon brings these bands’ “dreamy folk” undercurrents to the forefront. “Gretchen Took a Ride” ends up sounding like a full-band, widescreen expansion of the more insular Oy Vey!’s five songs. “Gretchen took a ride, she explained upon return with a smile in her eye / She had to clear her mind” begins Habegger’s lyrics, and the breezy instrumental that then kicks in invites the listener to do the same. Both lyrically and musically, “Gretchen Took a Ride” seems to walk the line between familiar intimacy and West Coast cosmic psychedelia.
The newly-solidified lineup of Jack Habegger’s Celebrity Telethon plans to spend the rest of the summer playing out and recording more new material. Habegger is also a comics artist, and you can catch his work in the Honky Tonk Times starting next month.