Ashley Hamel And Orice Jenkins At The Buttonwood

Special to the Courant

Hartford-based singer/songwriter Ashley Hamel has a song about Bob Ross, the nimbus-headed (semi-ironic) icon of public-television painting instruction, called “The Joy of Painting (Bob Ross).” It’s pretty hilarious — sort of Lisa Loeb meets Tenacious D.

She plays her seemingly earnest folk-singer routine fairly straight, making it hard to know when it’s okay to laugh. She sings, addressing Ross: “I’d write you a song, we’d make happy love, outside next to a happy little shrub, but I can’t because you don’t play music. And afterward I’d ask you to paint me wearing this — and only this (whispers) — in the nude, but I can’t, because you prefer mountains.”

Another tune on Hamel’s EP “By the Window” is called “Diary of a Fan Girl.” It’s about a girl — “the star of her auto-fan fiction” — who fantasizes about meeting up with artists she worships.

Hamel crosses back and forth over that tricky line between seriousness and laugh-generating goofs. She pulls it off by giving everything a sort of big, Broadway delivery, turning up the vibrato and dynamic sighs and giving her non-joke songs the hint of a wink. Expect new material and perhaps a ukulele.

Ashley Hamel performs on a bill with Orice Jenkins, another eclectic Hartford-based artist, at Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main St., Middletown, on Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.

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