The former's 'Riser' shines at No. 1 on Top Country Albums and the latter's 'Bottoms Up' is the toast of Hot Country Songs
Dierks Bentley nets his fifth No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, as "Riser" arrives with 63,000 sold, according to Nielsen.
Bentley enjoys his highest-charting set and best sales week since 2009's "Feel That Fire" opened at the top with 71,000. Since, he's released the bluegrass effort "Up On the Ridge" (which logged a No. 2 debut and peak in 2010, with 39,000), and 2012's "Home" (No. 1, 55,000).
The new set is fueled by second single "I Hold On," which soars 11-3 on Hot Country Songs as the chart's Streaming Gainer (509,000 U.S. streams, up 36%, according to Nielsen BDS). It's Bentley's 17th top 10 on the chart. Lead single "Bourbon in Kentucky" peaked at No. 40 in July. Bentley also appears on the chart in a featured role (with Florida Georgia Line and Mike Eli) on the Cadillac Three's "The South," which jumps 17-13.
CHEERS: Brantley Gilbert ropes his second No. 1 on Hot Country Songs (and first since the chart switched from measuring core country radio airplay to a sales/airplay/streaming hybrid in October 2012), as "Bottoms Up" rises 2-1. The track concurrently logs a fourth consecutive (and fifth cumulative) week atop Country Digital Songs (66,000 sold, up 3%) and holds for a third week at No. 1 on Country Streaming Songs (1.2 million). It introduces his third album, "Just as I Am," due May 20.
Gilbert first led Hot Country Songs with "Country Must Be Country Wide" in December 2011.
'DANCE' CHARTS: Lee Brice registers career-high debuts on Hot Country Songs (No. 24) and Country Digital Songs (No. 6) with "I Don't Dance," the lead single from his upcoming third album, for which no title or release date has yet been announced.
On Hot Country Songs, Brice's previous best was a No. 42 start with "I Drive Your Truck" (Dec. 22, 2012); it peaked at No. 6 a year ago. With 37,000 first-week downloads sold, "Dance" rewrites the singer/songwriter's previous best opening-week Country Digital Songs rank, set when "Truck" entered the May 5, 2012, chart at No. 12.
WICKS BURNS BRIGHT: Chuck Wicks posts a career-best debut on the BDS-based Country Airplay tally, as "Us Again" begins at No. 45. Wicks, one of Blair Garner's sidekicks on the latter's multi-station Cumulus morning radio show, previously debuted as high as No. 50 with "All I Ever Wanted," which peaked at No. 14 in 2008.
The new song is Wicks' sixth chart entry, his first since "Old School" peaked at No. 43 three years ago. He earned his highest peak with his debut single "Stealing Cinderella," which rose to No. 5 in March 2008.
Although there was no densely coordinated or hourly play at the company's monitored stations, Wicks' Cumulus affiliation and the recently-broadened penetration of Garner's show among the company's stations clearly helped "Us Again" elevate its debut-week rank. All but one of the 10 top audience contributors to Wicks' debut during the BDS tracking week ending on March 2 are Cumulus-owned.
"Us Again" is due to be included on Wicks' second full-length album, which is expected this summer. Five songs set to be on the album were released for a limited time last spring on his "Rough" EP. The set spent two weeks on Top Country Albums, peaking at No. 21 upon its bowed (April 27, 2013).
High atop the Country Airplay scorecard, Jason Aldean dominates for a third straight week with "When She Says Baby."
OLD COUNTRY: On Country Digital Songs, the late Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes" opens at No. 27 (13,000) following a Feb. 24 audition performance by Jake Worthington, a hopeful on NBC's "The Voice." Worthington's performance track, meanwhile, sold 6,000.
In 1988, the original became Whitley's first of five career leaders on Hot Country Songs. He died of accidental alcohol poisoning the following year.