Somewhere, amidst much carousing, hobbits are clinking steins and exhorting lady hobbits to dance. Wizards guffaw, men sing and mirth abounds.

The band in the corner alighting the tavern with jigs aplenty? That would be the Maine-based The Press Gang on its first tour of Middle Earth. Jokes, of course, jokes: contrast, The Press Gang and their spritely self-titled debut of Celtic-Appalachian folk music are to be taken quite seriously.

“Gang” is a fitting term for this ragamuffin team of Alden Robinson on fiddle, Junior Stevens on accordion and the beguiling concertina, and Owen Marshall picking up guitars, bouzouki and harmonium. With Marshall providing a steady foundation of safe chord progressions, Robinson and Stevens can paint freely on top, spicing it up with whirling dervish licks or adding textural layers to steady the waters.

Stompers such as “Mairtin O’Connor’s/Hayden’s Fancy” or “Mayor Harrison’s Fedora/John Stenson’s” are irresistible and full of joy. Then there are more down-by-the-willow-tree contemplative numbers such as “Naomi’s” or the beautifully understated “Lucy Farr’s.”

The record is consistent and can be as present as you want it to be, life of the party or reliable background color.

It’s not unlike new-grass pioneer Nickel Creek’s self-titled debut in that it takes refuge in a tradition, but uses that context to shine.

Keep the ales flowing, The Press Gang’s playing tonight.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.