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Jason Aldean

Meanwhile, Dierks Bentley Scores 10th Country Songs No. 1 as Old Crow Medicine Show Pings Album Chart

Jason Aldean's "Take a Little Ride" roars onto Country Songs as the artist's career-high start at No. 19, and sets a new first-week sales benchmark for male artists atop Country Digital Songs.

Fueled in large part by coordinated hourly play July 16 at Clear Channel-owned stations, Aldean's start on the radio list surpasses his previous best, noted when "My Kinda Party" opened at No. 41 two summers ago on its way to a No. 2 peak in January 2011. The singer's new song also makes history on Country Digital Songs, moving 189,000 downloads during the Nielsen SoundScan tracking week ending July 22, marking the biggest opening week by a male artist since the chart was launched in January 2010. That tops Scotty McCreery's debut with "I Love You This Big" a little over a year ago, when it launched with 171,000.

The only country male to sell more than 200,000 downloads in any single week is Toby Keith, whose "Red Solo Cup" moved 207,000 in the first full Nielsen SoundScan tracking week after Christmas last December. ("Red Solo Cup" had debuted two months earlier, eventually building up to its zenith week after Fox TV's "Glee" covered the track on its Dec. 6 episode.) Aldean's previous digital song high came when "Dirt Road Anthem" also shifted 189,000 in the week ending June 12, after he performed it with Ludacris on the June 9 "CMT Music Awards." The new song leads off Aldean's next album, which will be released this fall.

Meanwhile, Dierks Bentley nabs his second Country Songs No. 1 this year and 10th overall, as "5-1-5-0" steps 2-1. The new leader follows "Home," which dominated the March 24 radio chart, while the numeric title ranks at No. 8 with 40,000 downloads in its 12th week on Country Digital Songs. The new chart topper is the third No. 1 from Bentley's Home album -- lead single "Am I the Only One" topped the Country Songs chart dated Sept. 3, 2011. The album ranks at No. 28 in its 24th week on Country Albums (3,000 sold).

In other retail news, Nashville-based acoustic jam band Old Crow Medicine Show claims its fourth No. 1 on Bluegrass Albums, its best rank ever on Country Albums (No. 4), and its biggest Nielsen SoundScan week with "Carry Me Back," which starts with 17,000 sold. The group most recently led the Bluegrass list with Tennessee Pusher (13 weeks, 2008-09), which also set their previous best rank on the country chart when it opened at No. 7 four years ago. The new album also arrives at No. 1 on Folk Albums, viewable on Billboard.biz/charts.

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