For the better part of two decades now, those in the know in Nashville have been familiar with the Flat River Band, three brothers from Missouri whose tight sibling harmonies would have ruled the charts in a different era. In addition to performing at various venues around Nashville and the South, brothers Chad, Andi and Dennijo Sitze have opened for such acts as Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent, TG Sheppard and others, and as members of a multi-generational musical family, they worked for years in Branson and Dollywood.
The trio continues to release singles off their most recent project, the five-song Sights and Sounds EP, which includes more siblings than just the Sitze brothers, with a version of the classic “I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love” that features Larry, Steve and Rudy, the Gatlin Brothers themselves. And the group recently released their latest single, “Shining Through My Window,” which features the voices of yet another sibling harmony act, Gospel music’s legendary McCrary Sisters, who have performed with everyone from Bob Dylan to the Black Keys to Carrie Underwood.
“The brothers and I had this song I wrote a few years back,” Chad said, “and we could hear a heavenly choir on the back end of it, so we reached out to the McCrary Sisters and they were kind enough to come in and record a vocal on it. And there in the studio was the first time we ever met them in person, and they just seemed like family to us. We talked about what we wanted, and even before we laid the tracks down I knew it was gonna be spot-on. We recorded that at Omni studios [on Music Row].”
“I wrote it about ten years ago, I held onto it for a while,” Chad continued. “We changed the song around to where it fits our vocals, that’s what we kind of excel in. I had anticipated singing the lead vocal on it myself for the longest time, but Andi was kind of singing around on it and it just felt like it was made for him.” The song’s video features Brother Jimmie Snow, son of country music icon Hank Snow, in the role of a preacher, not much of a stretch as he is one of old-time Nashville’s most famous men of the pulpit.
Another track from the Sights and Sounds project is the 1969 Crosby, Stills & Nash classic “Helplessly Hoping.” “Crosby, Stills & Nash, they just did some fabulous harmonies, and it’s a real ear catcher,” Chad said. “What’s neat about the song for us is putting out own twist on it, and bringing in some steel guitar. The steel player on that was Matt Klevorn, who is actually a cousin of ours, he used to play for Sammy Kershaw.”
Maybe more than any other track on Sights and Sounds, though, Chad may be most excited about “Shining Through My Window” because of the Divine touch that the McCrarys, whose father weas a founding member of Gospel music’s Fairfield Four, brought to the track. “They just nailed it,” he said, “it just seemed like it was meant to be. They were just sisters from another mother. It was fabulous, and those girls are as sweet as can be.”