Allan's "Set You Free" marks his third No. 1 on the Country Albums chart.
Veteran singer Gary Allan  blows the dust off his chart stats with his biggest Nielsen SoundScan week, his first leader on the Billboard 200 and his first chart-topper in more than eight years on Country Songs.
Driven by lead single “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain),” which also rises to No. 1 on the Nielsen BDS-based Country Airplay chart, Allan’s "Set You Free" takes the Hot Shot Debut atop the Billboard 200 with 106,000 sold, according to SoundScan. That surpasses his previous best sales week, logged when "Tough All Over" moved 99,000 to open at No. 3 in 2005, thus establishing his previous best rank on the Billboard 200. He repeated a No. 3 peak with "Living Hard" two years later.
On Country Albums, “Free” becomes Allan’s third No. 1, preceded in 2007 by his "Greatest Hits" and the aforementioned “Tough.” Allan’s retail feat was aided by a Jan. 23 performance on NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and a discounted tag at several retail handlers. It sold for $9.99 at iTunes, Target and Best Buy and went for $10 at Wal-Mart.
On Country Songs, “Storm” becomes Allan’s fourth leader, closing a gap of more than eight years atop the chart. It reaches the summit with double Greatest Gainer trophies for the chart’s biggest overall digital and streaming spikes. Allan’s last leader was “Nothing On But the Radio,” which spent two weeks at No. 1 in late 2004.
Although Allan's new chart-topper pushes the Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” down to No. 2, the trio maintains its momentum with Greatest Gainer honors for the fattest airplay spike.
'FEELS' GOOD: Elsewhere on Country Albums, tradition-minded singer Randy Houser  sets a new career benchmark at No. 3 with "How Country Feels," which sells 24,000 (and enters the Billboard 200 at No. 11).
His previous best Country Albums rank and sum were posted when his second album, "They Call Me Cadillac," peaked on opening week at No. 8 with 9,000. The title track from “Feels” led the Country Airplay tally last week and logs its highest perch so far on Country Songs this week, rising 7-6. He nets a career-high bow a bit lower on the latter chart with a second track from the album, as “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” starts with Hot Shot Debut honors at No. 41.
In addition to Allan at No. 1 and Houser at No. 3, this week’s top five on Country Albums is rounded out by Taylor Swift’s "Red" at No. 2 (32,000 sold), Florida Georgia Line’s "Here’s to the Good Times" at No. 4 (19,000) and Jason Aldean’s "Night Train" at No. 5 (16,000).
BACK WITH 'BLACK': Carrie Underwood  scores her 17th top 10 on Country Songs with “Two Black Cadillacs,” which rolls 14-10. The song continues her streak of consecutive top 10 radio-promoted singles (excluding holiday tracks), which encompasses her entire career output. Each of her prior 16 top 10s have either peaked at No. 1 (13) or No. 2 (three). On Country Airplay, "Cadillacs" motors 11-10.
Since Underwood achieved her first top 10 with “Jesus, Take the Wheel” in December 2005, no other woman has amassed more. During that time frame, Underwood has been running a back-and-forth race with Taylor Swift for the most top 10s; Swift logged her first with “Tim McGraw” in December 2006 and tied Underwood with 16 apiece when “Begin Again” cracked the top 10 the week of Jan. 5.
COUNTRY GOES 'DOWNTOWN': Lady Antebellum claims its highest debut on Country Airplay with “Downtown,” which chimes in at No. 25 with spins at 100 of the 125 stations monitored for this week’s chart. That surpasses the trio’s No. 28 debut with “Just a Kiss” on the May 21, 2011 chart. ("Kiss" ended up spending two weeks at No. 1 that summer.) On Country Songs, "Downtown" debuts at No. 42. The track should soar on the latter list following its Feb. 5 digital release.
"Downtown" introduces the threesome’s upcoming fourth studio album, for which no title or release date has been announced. Lady A most recently reached the Country Songs summit with “We Owned the Night,” which became its sixth No. 1 in December 2011.
CAN'T STOP 'CRYING': Due to renewed momentum after being removed from Country Songs per the chart's recurrent rules in December, Casey James’ “Crying on a Suitcase” re-enters at a new peak of No. 24.
The song previously spent 23 weeks on the chart, reaching No. 25 in October. It bullets at its No. 15 peak to-date in its 33rd week on Country Airplay.
- Chart Beat