Flat River Band members Chad, Andy, and Dennijo Sitze grew up in Missouri and started playing music at an early age with their parent’s band the Sitze Family. The brothers moved to Nashville about 4 years ago to continue their music careers and have recently released their sophomore project, “High Roller.” Their first single “I’m Alright, I’m Ok” is currently at number 78 on the Music Row charts. CMP writer Paige Colgin recently caught up with the band and was able to get an in depth interview with them to find out more about their journey from growing up together as brothers and playing in a family band, to moving to Nashville and following their hearts.
CMP: When did y’all decide to branch out from the family’s band to form your own band?
Dennijo- Around 5 years ago, we moved to Nashville.
Chad- I was in town doing some songwriting things and I told the guys to start coming down on the weekends and do some songwriting things and we were playing at the Alabama Grill and things just started clicking with us. We just felt like and it was a mutual thing that to come full circle with the dream on our hearts and we had that desire to continue playing so we did.
CMP: What all instruments do y’all play?
Andy- electric and doghouse bass
Chad- guitar and banjo
Dennijo- mandolin harmonica electric guitar and piano
CMP: What is your favorite type of venue to play at?
Chad- small setting coffee clubs
Dennijo- anywhere the crowd is enjoying our music
CMP: Do you write all of your own songs?
Flat River Band- Yes.
CMP: What’s the hardest part about working together as brothers?
Chad and Dennijo- Tough question.
Dennijo- in a normal circumstance in a band type situation there’s lines that are drawn and people try not to cross over those lines and boundaries- and with us we know where those lines are and so we try to cross over those lines as often as possible. I feel we have a big advantage over most bands because we are brothers and we know where those boundaries are.
CMP: Where does the name Flat River Band come from?
Dennijo- Small town approximately 60 miles south of St. Louis, lead mining community that used to be called the Lead Belt area but the town within the area was called Flat River, the name was lost and turned into Park Hills. After they dropped the name we picked it up.
Chad- Ferlin Husky used to have a song called Flat River Mo- which was referring to
Flat River MO.
CMP: How old were y’all when you first started singing with the family band?
Flat River Band- Grandpa had a gospel group that did bluegrass gospel and then dad came along and played bass guitar with them some. Dad and mom played as a duet doing tent revivals and I remember learning to sing harmony when I was about 3-4. Then parents moved from KY to MO and the house burned down and the church gave us a trailer to live in and there was a piano in that trailer and that’s when I learned to play the piano. But we were about 12-13 when we started playing professionally at Silver Dollar City. And we played a lot of churches before that.
Even though you write your own songs, how do you go about choosing which songs to put on your albums?
Chad- mutual decision. We kind of sit out what we write and it’s just a mutual thing. Each album has a theme but we just kinda pick out of the songs.
CMP: What music do you listen to?
Flat River Band- We don’t listen to our own stuff
Chad- Van Morrison Bob Dylan Jon Hyatt
Dennijo- New Grass Revival Eagles
Andy- Alabama Eagles Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, that’s what makes up our sound is the plethora of musical influences that we listen to.
CMP: What does it really take to make it in this business, and to get through all the rejections and struggles?
Chad- the grace of God. It also makes it nice to have brothers to encourage one another because there’s a lot of rejection that goes on in this town.
CMP: What else do you want your fans to know about you?
Flat River Band- Our whole dream and vision is to change the world with our music in a positive way.
You can find the Flat River Band’s music on Itunes and Amazon. Their latest single I’m Alright, I’m Ok has already been sent to radio, so please call your local stations and request the song. You can find more information about the band, including tour dates, and music samples at www.flatriverband.com. The band can also be found on myspace and facebook.