The Flat River Brothers
the family band of brothers who cut their teeth on Southern Gospel and Bluegrass in Missouri
The Sitze brothers, Andy, Chad, and Dennijoe, come from a multi-generational musical family. “We grew up listening to our grandpaw, who played upright bass,” recalls Andy, who serves as the spokesperson for the band. “My daddy played guitar, and Mama sang.” Cutting their teeth on Gospel and bluegrass music, the boys played onstage early on. “We spent twelve years playing bluegrass music with our parents and grandparents at Silver Dollar City. We also played at Dollywood every other weekend.”
The brothers decided to form their band in 2008. “We named it the Flat River Band because our dad had a barbershop in what used to be called Flat River, Missouri. It is now called Park Hills.”
The residents of Flat River, Elvins, Esther, and Rivermines voted to consolidate into a new city called Park Hills in 1994. The brothers grew up traveling in their family’s tour bus. “We actually had two traveling buses,” says Andy. “We traveled from August, Maine to Arizona. Our mom and dad had a lot invested in us boys. We took music lessons from Barry Jones, who had a family band in Missouri. And our parents spent a lot of time with us. When we were kids, our dad took us to bluegrass festivals every weekend. They have always been our biggest supporters. We had a great upbringing, and you can’t put a price on that.”
Andy says the brothers all live in the same area in middle Tennessee and get together a couple of times a week to work on songs and rehearse. “We gather at my brother Dennijoe’s house. We write music together, which is a lot of fun.” Taught to sing harmony by their mother, groups with solid harmonies like the Gatlin Brothers inspired the brothers. “We listen to all kinds of music. We like old Black Gospel groups like the Fairfield Four and the Golden Gate Quartet, but we also like the Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash.” Another source of inspiration is Doyal Lawson and Quicksilver. “We just really love harmonies in general.”
The Flat River Band has charted several number one hits on the Gospel charts. During their career, they opened for many notable stars, including Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent, and TG Sheppard. With the release of their five-song EP, Sights and Sounds, the Flat River Band has entered new territory with The McCrary Sisters, whose father was a founding member of the Fairfield Four. The Sitze brothers have followed the McCrary Sisters since moving to Tennessee. The song “Shining Through My Window” features the McCrarys on vocals. Written by Chad, the song comes from a difficult period in his life, yet the cheerful theme is made even brighter by the brothers’ harmonies, punctuated by the sweet female vocals the McCrary Sisters lend to the song.
The song charted in the top three PlayMPE Christian Top 20 Streaming Chart in April. Mark Nicolosi directed the video of the song. A fun fact about the video is that Jimmy Snow, son of the legendary Hank Snow, played himself, a preacher, in the video. “The song is in the Top 40 now,” says Andy. “We are grateful for that.”
Another song on the EP that has performed well is “I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love,” a 1977 number one hit by the Gatlin Brothers, who are also featured in the song video filmed at the famed Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville. The Flat River Band’s version made its debut as number eight on the most-added song on the Billboard Indicator Chart for the week of January 4, 2022. It was also in the Top Five Most Downloaded song list on PlayMPE. Both songs were released as singles.
The band of brothers is enjoying their time on the road together, taking their hybrid sound into a more country sound.
Their sibling harmonies, superb musicianship, and stellar songwriting serve them well and get them noticed on a broader stage. The band is currently on the road, pushing the EP.
The brothers like to be home while not playing music on the road. “Dennijoe has two girls, and Chad has four sons.