The Flat River Band made up of Fredericktown natives Chad, Dennijo and Andy Sitze have three songs from their Christmas album "Christmas Time" featured in the new holiday movie "The Least of These: A Christmas Story."
From the mind of writer and director Mark Nicolosi, the movie premiered Nov. 25 at the Fontanel Mansion in Nashville. The movie tells the story of a homeless single mother and her daughter as they are befriended by a storefront Santa Claus.
Eldest brother of the Flat River Band, Chad Sitze said they were honored to have their songs chosen for the new movie and it was a blessing to be on the same soundtrack with some of their music heroes. The Bellamy Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys and Deborah Allen also provided music for the film.
"The inspiration for the Christmas album was simply sharing our childhood experiences with everyone in the title track 'Christmas Time,'" Chad said. "The other original is called 'I’m gonna get that Santa Claus.' In a nutshell it talks about a naughty boy that doesn’t get anything for Christmas last year and decides to lace the cookies this year with Ex-Lax to even the score."
While the track "Christmas Time" is about their childhood memories, Chad said "I'm gonna get that Santa Claus" is not based on a true story.
"Mom did have her hands full for sure, but no, the story is fictional, but honestly I have no doubt that between the three of us there were thoughts like the story talks about," Chad said. "It definitely wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary."
Chad said the project was a blast and they even pulled their mom in on the record to sing "O' Come All Ye Faithful."
"Family is very important to all of us," Chad said. "I would say because we traveled for so many years as a family band along life’s journey we experienced a lot of different things together."
Chad said he believes family plays such an important role in the brothers' song writing because of their parents and how much family meant to them. Each brother has a family of their own now.
"Dennijo has two girls, Andy has two girls and for whatever reason I’m the only one that can produce the boys," Chad said. "I’ve got three right now and another little curtain climber due Jan. 18, and yes, it's going to be another boy."
The Sitze brothers are no strangers to musical success as they previously toured as the Sitze Family playing bluegrass gospel tunes for more than 20 years.
Between the two bands, the brothers have released 15 studio albums with two top 10 and a number one song on the bluegrass charts.
As the Sitzes work to find their grounding as an Americana and Country music group, they have had the pleasure of performing on The Grand Ole Opry Radio station WSM radio 650 AM and Chad won the Smoking Hit Songwriters contest in 2017 with the Flat River Band's song "Devils Playground" from their album "Mind of a Traveler."
Chad said the Flat River Band recorded a new album this fall and had all seven songs finished in about three and a half days.
"Let's just say this, we have a song about running with the big dogs on this next collection of songs," Chad said. "As well as wise words from our grandpa and our dad that were beyond worthy of putting in a song. Being raised in a small town, you definitely have to have a song about rumors. The whole experience was unbelievable. We all agree that these songs are by far the best we’ve done yet."
The band hopes to have the new collection of songs ready for release by early 2019.
While the band has resided in Nashville for 15 years, they still keep their small-town roots in their music and lives.
"Yes, we do miss the small town feel but like they say 'You can take the man out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the man,'" Chad said. "That rings true with small town versus the city life too."
Chad said Nashville provides a melting pot of different artists and songwriters singing all types of music genres.
"Music is a universal language, Chad said. "It crosses all boundaries of religions, political, race or creed. It brings people of all walks of life together. The thought of having an idea, putting it to paper and then adding harmonies to the idea along with music, with two guys you were raised with and then recording it and performing it. That is better than any high any one could imagine. It’s a God given orchestra of happiness."
Chad said the band has been talking to a few people back home about a possible show in 2019.