Having moved another 5,000 copies, Illinois (No. 8 on Top Country Albums) has now sold 65,000 to date. The set, released Sept. 11, opened at No. 1 on Top Country Albums (dated Oct. 3) with 44,000. "Drunk On Your Love" will be the album's next single.
RECORD-EXTENDING RECORD: George Strait crowns Top Country Albums with Cold Beer Conversation, up 2-1 in its second week despite a 64 percent fall to 30,000. The set swaps places with last week's No. 1, Don Henley's Cass County (1-2; 28,000, down 67 percent).
The new release marks Strait's record-padding 26th No. 1 on Top Country Albums. He last led the list with 2013's Love Is Everything. The legend first ruled the chart with Right or Wrong in 1984.
BROWN BOUNDS: The biggest jump on Top Country Albums belongs to 21-year-old Kane Brown, whose self-released EP Closer hurtles 32-10 (3,000, up 142 percent). Brown co-wrote all six songs on the set, which debuted on the chart dated June 20 (No. 22, 3,000). Closer received renewed interest after the Chattanooga, Tenn., native posted a clip of himself covering George Strait's 1996 Hot Country Songs No. 1 "Check Yes or No" on Facebook on Sept. 30. Although Brown has long been posting videos online, his "Yes or No" remake has stood out, drawing more than 8 million Facebook views and inspiring a good amount of Music Row chatter, so much so that several labels are reportedly vying to sign him.
CAN'T KEEP HIM 'DOWN': Luke Bryan's "Strip It Down" tops Hot Country Songs for a fourth week. On Country Airplay, it strides 3-2, up by 5 percent to 46.5 million.
'NOTHIN' ' TO SNEEZE AT: Dan + Shay achieve their first Country Airplay top 10, as "Nothin' Like You" rises 11-10 (32.5 million, essentially flat compared to the prior week) in its 34th chart week. "Nothin' " is the third major-label single for the duo (Dan Smyers and James Shay Mooney). "19 You + Me" peaked at No. 11 (April 19, 2014), and "Show You Off" reached No. 21 (Jan. 3).
This article first appeared in Billboard's Country Update -- sign up here.