Flat River Band - 10 Questions Interview
Flat River Band is a trio comprised of siblings Andy, Dennijo, and Chad Sitze. The trio has opened for the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines, Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent, TG Sheppard, among others. The brothers have also charted #1 hits on the bluegrass gospel charts as well as have had their songs featured in the 2018 movie “The Least of These — A Christmas Story” featuring Duane Allen (Oak Ridge Boys), Deborah Allen, and Tayla Lynn (Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter).
The band's new album is Every Dog Has Its Day. Aaron McDaris, who plays with Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, was brought into play banjo, and much to the brothers’ surprise, he brought with him his 1934 Gibson RB-3 that was owned by Sonny Osborne who recorded the University of Tennessee’s theme song “Rocky Top” with that same banjo in 1967. One of Dennijo’s guitar superheroes, Johnny Hiland who is legally blind was brought in to play the electric guitar, while Stuart Duncan played fiddle. Nashville’s top tune-smiths are also on the disc, such as “In Another World,” a co-write with the highly respected John Scott Sherrill (“Some Fools Never Learn,” “The Church On Cumberland Road.”). Telling stories – whether it be that of John or their own – is what the Flat River Band is all about.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
When we were kids our grandparents use to take us to Mt.View Arkansas after visiting many many times. We started rubbing shoulders with Jimmy Driftwood. Jimmy and his wife invited our family back to his home. His home was like a musical museum of sorts. Listening to his vast knowledge in songwriting and the music biz was pretty inspiring. Jimmy Driftwood wrote many songs his most notable songs were "The Battle of New Orleans" & "Tennessee Stud"
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Actually there are two things or moments that stand out... One time we were playing in our family band at Dollywood and the brothers and I got into a fist fight in between shows about timing...the green room was just a 10X10 room needless to say mom got hit by trying to break us up and dad was mad to say the least...all this happened 5 mins before our next show..so we made up fast. The other event that will forever stick with us is when we stopped at the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, Mo. Andy and myself were asleep in our bunks...we woke up and went inside. we walked around trying to find them...but they were nowhere to be found. Evidently as we were walking in..they were walking out. They left us at the Bass Pro Shop and thought we were asleep in the bunk. I finally called the highway patrol...they pulled them over and turned around to pick us up.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Playing in our family band that experience is and will always be priceless.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Well its always good to have a note pad around...but anymore I just use my phone to record all my ideas. Some times the ideas just flow like a water fall and other times its like trying to pump water from a well...they'll eventually come some just take a little more time. And you have to be willing to wait...all good things come to those who wait. My grandpa always told me that and I have found that to be true.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Honestly we have found that with the internet...the music biz has opened so many doors to the indie world...the days of charging $15 for 2 good songs and the rest were fillers...those days are over with. In all reality it was the music industry folks who have hurt themselves. The future is bright for the indie folks!
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Alabama we grew up listening to those guys...we'd sneak out of the house drive to the end of the county road and smoke cigarettes and listen to Alabama on the stereo
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
well we try to learn the lyrics before sitting down together...then we work our harmonies out...then our instrumentation
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
I heard this line in my dad's barbershop years ago and sat on it forever and a day...I had the chorus but was lacking the plot. The brothers and I finally came up with a really cool inspirational redemptive story. We recorded it on our last collection of songs. "No Hill For a Climber"
What's coming up in the future?
Recording a new project.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
This music interview was brought to you by BWH Music Group.