The singer/songwriter joins the exclusive ranks of women who've launched atop the ranking. Plus, Darius Rucker rides 'Wagon Wheel' further, and find out Carrie Underwood's next single.
Kacey Musgraves becomes the first solo female in five years to open at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart with a rookie release, and just the seventh in the 22-year Nielsen SoundScan era, as "Same Trailer, Different Park" arrives with 43,000 copies sold.
No previously unknown female artist had accomplished the feat since Julianne Hough's self-titled debut opened atop the June 6, 2008 chart.
Here's a look at the select seven leading ladies: Kacey Musgraves, "Same Trailer, Different Park"; Julianne Hough, "Julianne Hough" (67,000 first-week copies sold, 2008); Kellie Pickler, "Small Town Girl" (79,000, 2006); Carrie Underwood, "Some Hearts" (315,000, 2005); Miranda Lambert, "Kerosene" (40,000, 2005); Gretchen Wilson, "Here for the Party" (227,000, 2004); and, LeAnn Rimes, "Blue" (124,000, 1996).
Notably, the four women on the list prior to Musgraves reigned with notable assistance from TV exposure, including "Dancing With the Stars" (Hough), "American Idol" (Pickler, Underwood), and "Nashville Star" (Lambert). Musgraves made waves with debut single "Merry Go 'Round," which peaked at No. 14 on Hot Country Songs in February. It earns Streaming Gainer stripes for a 61% spike in streaming in its 30th week on Hot Country Songs (17-18) and reaches a new peak (No. 10) on Country Digital Songs (30,000, up 20%). During a 28-week run on the Country Airplay chart, "Merry" peaked at No. 10 three weeks ago.
"WAGON" TALE: Darius Rucker claims his first leader, and best weekly digital sales sum, on Country Digital Songs, as "Wagon Wheel" sells 75,000 (up 23%) and steps 2-1. The gain fuels a 5-2 surge on Hot Country Songs, where Rucker adds Digital Gainer honors and his best rank since "This" topped the April 30, 2011, chart. Previous single "True Believers" reached No. 24 in October and "I Got Nothin' " peaked at No. 17 a year earlier. Rucker's history on the big chart includes seven top 10s and five No. 1s.
NEW TOP 10s: Also noteworthy on Hot Country Songs, Thompson Square claims its third top 10, as "If I Didn't Have You" jumps 14-10 in its 21st week. The duo had most recently reached the upper tier when "I Got You" peaked at No. 8 in December 2011.
While Blake Shelton's "Sure Be Cool If You Did" holds for a second week atop the Country Airplay chart (and for a fifth on Hot Country Songs), a pair of titles freshen the radio ranking's top 10: his wife Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart," which leaps 11-8 (and which Musgraves co-wrote), and Florida Georgia Line's "Get Your Shine On," up 12-10. The latter song scores the Airplay Gainer nod on Hot Country Songs, rising by 23% in airplay, and reaches a new peak at No. 5 in its 23rd week. With 51,000 sold, "Shine" has its best sales week so far.
NEW "LOVE": Singer/songwriter Phil Vassar matches his previous best start on Country Airplay with "Love is Alive," which starts at No. 49. He established his career-high debut with "This is My Life," which debuted in the same position on the June 9, 2007, chart; it peaked at No. 35 three months later.
Vassar's Country Airplay chart history includes eight top 10s, two of which spent time at No. 1: "Just Another Day in Paradise" (2000) and "In a Real Love" (2004). He most recently reached the top 10 when "Love Is a Beautiful Thing" peaked at No. 2 five years ago.
Vassar is preparing a new album, "Don't Miss Your Life," due this summer on his Rodeowave label, which celebrates its second anniversary in May.
CARRIE ON: Although down from a No. 2 peak on Country Airplay (2-5), Carrie Underwood's "Two Black Cadillacs" continues her perfect streak of all 17 of her promoted singles reaching the top two on the radio chart, 13 of which have hit No. 1.
She tweeted on March 18 that "See You Again" is the next single from her "Blown Away" album. The midtempo song follows "Cadillacs," the title cut, and "Good Girl."
"CELEBRITY" SELLS: As he looks to … trump … the competition on the new all-star edition of NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice," Trace Adkins bows at No. 55 on Top Country Albums with the best-of collection "Icon: Trace Adkins."
In his previous stint in the "Apprentice" boardroom, Adkins finished as the runner-up on the 2008 season of the series. The exposure helped spur "You're Gonna Miss This" to a two-week reign on Hot Country Songs that spring. Adkins has placed 36 songs on the ranking beginning in 1996, including 15 top 10s and four No. 1s.