The former college QB huddles in the chart's upper ranks with his debut EP. Plus, moves for Luke Bryan, FGL & Darius Rucker.
Former college football quarterback Sam Hunt snares Hot Shot Debut honors at No. 5 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart with X2C, his four-song, digital EP which arrives with 8,000 sold in the week ending Aug. 17, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The debut is fueled by "Leave the Night On," Hunt's debut single, which reaches new peaks on Hot Country Songs (10-8), Country Digital Songs (8-6, with 46,000 downloads sold, up 10 percent) and Country Airplay (21-18 with 19 million audience impressions, up 5 percent, according to Nielsen BDS). The track also bullets for a second week at its No. 4 peak on Country Streaming Songs (1.7 million U.S. streams).
After attending Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (and signing briefly with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs), Hunt gained genre acclaim as a writer, co-penning Kenny Chesney's 2012 No. 1 "Come Over" and Keith Urban's recent No. 4 hit "Cop Car."
The EP's three other three songs all debut on Hot Country Songs, at Nos. 30 ("Break Up in a Small Town"), 39 ("House Party") and 40 ("Ex to See"). The clever lattermost track informs the EP's title with its tale of being used to make a former special someone jealous. "He walks in, it all makes sense," Hunt sings. "Suddenly, you're climbing all up next to me. You don't want me, you just want your ex to see."
'PARTY' ROLLS ON: Luke Bryan's Crash My Party leads Top Country Albums for a 13th cumulative (and second consecutive) week, adding Greatest Gainer stripes. Up by 19 percent to 19,000, the album posts its biggest sales sum in two months. The set marks the longest reign by a solo male since Chesney's When the Sun Goes Down ruled for 14 weeks in 2004.
Concurrently, Bryan achieves his 16th Country Airplay top 10, as "Roller Coaster" rides 12-10. Since his first week in the top 10 (Sept. 8, 2007), Bryan, Urban, Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift boast the second-most top 10s. Chesney's 18 top 10s are the most in that window.
HIGH HEAT: As Jason Aldean's "Burnin' It Down" tallies a fourth week atop Hot Country Songs, he matches his longest chart-topping run, first set when "Big Green Tractor" began a four-week stand atop the Sept. 5, 2009, chart. "Down" spends a fourth straight week at No. 1 on Country Digital Songs (93,000, down 13 percent) and a second frame atop Country Streaming Songs (2.4 million, up 3 percent).
NEW STATE OF COUNTRY: Chesney earns the top debut at No. 26 on Hot Country Songs with "Flora-Bama," the show-opening song at his Aug. 16 beachfront concert in Pensacola, Fla., attended by 40,000 fans. The geographically inventive track starts with 29,000 sold and enters Country Digital Songs at No. 14.
"Flora-Bama" and current radio hit "American Kids" (No. 3 on Hot Country Songs), will be included on Chesney' 15th studio album, The Big Revival, due Sept. 23.
THE LATEST 'DIRT': Florida Georgia Line makes its quickest ascent to the Country Airplay top 10, as its sixth consecutive such hit, "Dirt," jumps 11-9 in its sixth week. That's five weeks faster than the duo's previous best top 10 pace, set by "Stay," which rose 12-9 in its 11th week (Dec. 7, 2013). Four of the pair's previous five radio singles hit No. 1. ("This Is How We Roll," featuring Bryan, peaked at No. 2.)
SWEET SPOT: Darius Rucker ropes the highest debut on Country Airplay at No. 55 with "Homegrown Honey," the lead single from his upcoming fourth solo country album. Rucker is currently working on the project, for which no title or release date has yet been announced.
Meanwhile, on Country Digital Songs, "Time for Change," Rucker's contribution to Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Motley Crue, debuts at No. 41 (9,000 sold). The album was released Tuesday and will make itself at home (sweet home) on next week's charts.