The Probables: Band’s All

The Probables — from left are Adam McKillip, mandolin; Ryan Ecklund, bass; Steve Johnson, acoustic guitar, lead vocals; Nick Campbell, drums; and Matt Gronquist, guitar.
Submitted photo



I knew the band was good.

But I had forgotten how good.

The music keeps evolving.

And that’s a good thing for The Probables.

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The band sounds good on a recording, but if you get the chance to see them live, then you will see them at their best. During a recent live performance, I soaked up the sound and noticed the members don’t try to play over each other. They just mesh. The band was performing songs from their releases “The Home,” “Cumberland Line,” “This Time Around,” and “Lost In Circles.”

Before the show started, a woman went up to the stage and asked Adam McKillip, who plays mandolin, and is a vocalist, if the band took requests.

“No, I’m sorry. We are all original,” McKillip said with smile.

That spoke volumes because they have enough material to play for a 2-hour show.

After that, I’m sure she witnessed what good local, original music is.

And plenty of it.

The rest of the band members are Matt Gronquist, guitar, fiddle, Hammond Organ, and vocals; Steve Johnson, acoustic guitar, and lead vocals; Ryan Ecklund, bass guitar; and Nick Campbell, drums.

The band has added a slight twist to their new songs. Gronquist has brought back his electric guitar. He’s played that instrument for a long time, but it has not been used in many songs.

“I was playing accordion and fiddle, and the accordion has kind of morphed into the Hammond Organ. I had been a guitar player my whole life and I got interested in fiddle and Bluegrass music and put the guitar down for a while. It’s great to be getting my chops back after having my guitar in my closet for 20 years and rediscovering the guitar. Some (new) songs just call for it in a way,” Gronquist said.

Johnson is the main songwriter and usually brings a song to the band with acoustic guitar and lyrics. It’s just a skeleton at that point. Then the band will put some meat on the bones.

“I will basically have the song mapped out — acoustic guitar, vocal and lyrics. Then I bring it to the band and we construct it from there. So, you never know what groove is going to go with it. You never know what bassline or drum beat or anything is going to happen, and that’s when the magic happens,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the band keeps evolving, and he draws on everyday life for new material.

“It is whatever is going on in the moment or past experiences. It might something that I catch on the news or anything else,” Johnson said.

“We are evolving and keep evolving in new directions that keeps us interested and the fans interested,” Johnson added.

In 2018, the band went through somewhat of a transformation — McKillip, Ecklund, and Campbell joined the band.

“Since when I first joined the band, the songs have evolved. I am absolutely loving the songs that we are writing and the stuff we are creating, Essentially Steve will bring something that is just guitar and vocals, and we all put our parts to it. We’ll make suggestions. It’s a total collective process,” Campbell said.

Ecklund used to play a five-string bass, but has recently switched back to a four-string with flatwound strings.

“Now I have incorporated a pick and palm muting. It’s a completely different vibe,” Ecklund said.

The band is currently putting together a Destinations Tour 2023, and may be heading back into the studio in 2023 to record new music.

What draws me most to The Probables is that the music is honest, authentic, original, and local.

What more could you want.

And when you see the band perform live, don’t forget to dance.

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