Spreading the Southern gospel

Darlene, Carlene, and Marlene Dickson, known collectively as the Dickson Chix, are quite a busy bunch. If you should find yourself trying to write an article about them, try to give yourself a flexible deadline. They spend a lot of time doing the Lord’s work and helping with the sick.

"Plus one or more of us at the same, or different times, takes a little relaxation at a nearby rehab facility. You know, just to help us focus," says Carlene.

Part comedy show and part Gospel revival, the Dickson Chix are surefire entertainment. Their performances feature excellent harmonies and tasteful piano playing by Darlene. Close your eyes and you might think you were at a charismatic church somewhere out west on 1-40, but you’d more likely be downtown at Canvas Lounge at 1707 Church St., where the Chix host their "Camp Meeting" on Sundays once a month.

Singing everything from "A House is Not a Home Without God" to "Panty Crickets," these God-fearing ladies are sure to fill you with the Spirit.

The girls got together after their "Weigh Down Workshop" to tell me a little bit about how they started their brilliant and hilarious troupe.

"We are all half sisters born to Velma Wiladene Dickson," says Carlene. "We are not really sure who the hell our daddies are."

If you’re interested in checking out their origins a bit, they gave me some helpful directions: "We grew up in Momma's trailer just off Wild Cat Road in Dickson, Tennessee. When you come into Dickson take a right at the Liquor Mart. You'll see the Pentecostal church on the left, then the Baptist church on the right. Our double-wide sits just past that on the other side of the cemetery."

Their mother was the founder and pastor of the First Independent Greater Church of God in Christ Crucified with Signs Descending and Presbyterian Chapel of Dickson, where singing and leading worship got into their bones. They sing the songs they grew up on, and a few excellent new ones. My personal favorite is "Jesus, Vodka, and Vicodin."

"It's sort of our Holy Trinity: the three things that get us through life. Most folks will admit to being involved with the first one, but more secretive about the last two, but we’re not judging," they say.

In spite of "small-minded judgmental heathens who just don’t get it," the Dickson Chix invite one and all to their Camp Meeting. According to Carlene, "We had various and sundry kinds in our congregation: black, white, black and white, Native American, Pentecostal, Nazarene, Methodist, pill poppers, and drinkers; you name it. That learned us to always be accepting to all kinds of folk.

"I tried to find out a little big more about the three big-boned, hell-raising, Pentecostal, blood-shot eyed beauties, but they were hesitant to open up. "Our legal representation has advised us not to go into detail about our personal lives, as it might jeopardize some court proceedings that are presently pending, God is the final and eternal judge, Joel Osteen!" say the Chix.

Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dicksonchicks for hilarious status updates and more information about their performances. They’ve also got "some videos on The You Tube" that I highly recommend checking out. But most importantly, be sure to catch these ladies at the Canvas Lounge once a month. Whether or not you grew up singing "Canaanland is Just in Sight," you definitely don’t want to miss the Dickson Chix.

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