Aaron Lewis Leads Top Country Albums, Justin Moore Rules Country Airplay

Aaron Lewis performs in 2014
Scott Legato/Getty Images

Aaron Lewis performs in concert at The Soundboard, Motor City Casino on Feb. 6, 2014 in Detroit.

Lewis, of Staind, lands his second No. 1 country album, while Moore earns his fifth radio ruler. Plus, Tim McGraw boasts three songs in the Country Airplay chart's top 20.

Aaron Lewis launches at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart (dated Oct. 8) with Sinner, which grants him a career-best weekly sum of 39,000 copies sold (in the week ending Sept. 22, according to Nielsen Music). Lewis lands his second leader on the list, following his genre debut with his 2011 EP Town Line (38,000 in its first week). In 2012, his first solo full-length The Road debuted and peaked at No. 7 (21,000).

Lewis continues his segue to country after scoring success as a founding member and the lead vocalist of Staind. The hard rock band has notched three No. 1s on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

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"It sounds like country music, which these days is pretty rare, for a 'country artist' to actually put out country music," Lewis told Billboard earlier this year about Sinner. (The set's title cut features Willie Nelson.) "I'm not a fan of what's, for the most part, coming out of Nashville these days. It's pop music; it's not country music."

As for the future of Staind, who last charted a studio album on the Billboard 200 in 2011 (its No. 5-peaking self-titled set), "We still haven't broken up," Lewis said. "Do I think that there's more music there? Sure. Do I want to go down that road? Not particularly at the moment, no. I don't even know that when the time comes for us to go out and do some shows whether that means we're going to record more music. We'll just have to see what happens when we get there."

WAIT, THERE'S MOORE: Country Airplay also welcomes a new No. 1, as Justin Moore's "You Look Like I Need a Drink" vaults 4-1 (42 million in audience, up 15 percent, good for Greatest Gainer honors on the chart).

Moore earns his fifth Country Airplay No. 1 and first since "Lettin' the Night Roll" (July 5, 2014). He previously led with "Small Town USA" (Oct. 3, 2009), "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" (Oct. 23, 2010) and "Til My Last Day" (Jan. 5, 2013).

TIM'S TRIPLE: For a second consecutive week, Tim McGraw boasts three concurrent songs in the Country Airplay top 20. His own "How I'll Always Be" rises 15-14, while two songs on which he's credited as a featured artist also climb: Big & Rich's "Lovin' Lately" (16-15) and Florida Georgia Line's "May We All" (19-18).

McGraw previously tripled up in the Country Airplay top 20 dated Dec. 22, 2001, when Jo Dee Messina's "Bring On the Rain," featuring McGraw, rose 14-11 and his own "Angry All the Time" fell 15-18 and "The Cowboy in Me" galloped 26-20.

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McGraw is the only artist to score two sets of three simultaneous top 20 Country Airplay hits, although one other artist has achieved the feat (dating to the chart's 1990 launch): Kenny Chesney, for four weeks in June-July 2004, with "When the Sun Goes Down," with Uncle Kracker; his own "I Go Back"; and as a supporting vocalist, with Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and George Strait, on Jimmy Buffett's "Hey Good Lookin'."

McGraw is also one of the 30 superstars contributing to "Forever Country," which pushes 39-33 on Country Airplay and, as previously reported, soars in at No. 1 on the airplay, sales and streaming-based Hot Country Songs chart. Meanwhile, McGraw recently enjoyed his greatest crossover success on the Adult Contemporary chart in a decade with his former Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay No. 1 "Humble and Kind"; the ballad reached No. 13 on AC last month, marking his highest peak on the chart since 2006.


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