Chart Beat

Kenny Chesney's 'Songs For The Saints' Marches in at No. 1 On Top Country Albums

Kenny Chesney
Rick Scuteri/Invision/AP

Kenny Chesney performs during the Trip Around the Sun Tour at Chase Field on June 23, 2018 in Phoenix, Ariz. 

Brett Young's 'Mercy' also leads Country Airplay.

Kenny Chesney's Songs For the Saints launches at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart (dated Aug. 11), earning 77,000 equivalent album units in its first week, ending Aug. 2, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 65,000 were via traditional album sales.

Chesney's first set on Warner Music Nashville is his 16th Top Country Albums No. 1, lifting him into a fourth-place tie with Merle Haggard and Tim McGraw for the most. George Strait leads with 26, followed by Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson (17 each).

On the all-genre Billboard 200, Saints arrives at No. 2, marking Chesney's 15th top 10, a total that includes eight leaders. Concurrently, Saints starts at No. 1 on the all-genre Top Album Sales chart, awarding Chesney his 10th topper, all of which have opened at the summit.

The 11-song Saints, produced by Chesney and Buddy Cannon, includes five tracks co-authored by Chesney. Featured artists include Jimmy Buffett ("Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season"), Ziggy Marley ("Love for Love City") and Mindy Smith ("Better Boat").

Chesney crafted Saints in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which wreaked destruction last year, including on the Virgin Islands, where Chesney's home on St. John was destroyed. He is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from Saints to the victims of Irma through his Love for Live City Fund charity.

"It's thrilling Songs for the Saints has had this kind of response," Chesney tells Billboard, "in part because, obviously, these songs are as close to my soul as anything I've ever recorded, but also because every bit of the proceeds goes to the Love for Love City Fund, which has been financing a lot of the rebuilding post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Knowing that [fan base] No Shoes Nation continues to make this kind of a difference for some islands that could be easily forgotten means the world to me, and, once again, No Shoes Nation has shown up like only it can."

Lead Saints single "Get Along" topped the Country Airplay chart for two weeks starting July 21, becoming Chesney's record 30th No. 1, breaking a tie with McGraw.

NO. 1 NOT GETTING OLD FOR YOUNG Brett Young earns his third Country Airplay No. 1, as "Mercy" jumps 5-1, increasing by 8 percent to 38.5 million audience impressions in the tracking week ending Aug. 5.

"Mercy" marks Young's third total and consecutive Country Airplay No. 1. "Like I Loved You" crowned the survey dated Jan. 3 for its first of three weeks on top, after "In Case You Didn't Know" led for two frames beginning June 10, 2017. Young's debut single "Sleep Without You" peaked at No. 2 in December 2016.

All four songs are from Young's eponymous debut LP, which arrived at its No. 2 Top Country Albums peak (March 4, 2017). The last male artist to score three Country Airplay No. 1s from a debut set? Luke Combs, who sent his first three entries to the penthouse: "Hurricane," "When It Rains It Pours" and "One Number Away," all from his 2017 debut LP, This One's for You.

'SUNRISE' RISES Luke Bryan's "Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset" darts 14-10 on the airplay, streaming and sales-based Hot Country Songs chart, becoming Bryan's 26th top 10. The move is sparked by the track's 12 percent hike to 29.7 million in audience as it pushes 10-7 on Country Airplay.

Starting with Bryan's second top 10, "Country Man," which hit No. 10 in 2008, he's banked 25 consecutive top 10 Hot Country Songs singles (in a lead role and promoted to country radio), marking the second-longest active streak. Carrie Underwood has linked 27 consecutive top 10 singles.

SWEET 16TH TOP 10 Florida Georgia Line collects its 16th Country Airplay top 10 as "Simple" hops 11-10 (27.2 million, up 6 percent). The duo's "Meant to Be," with Bebe Rexha (Warner Bros./Big Machine Label Group), rules Hot Country Songs for a record-extending 36th week.

JINKS JUMPS IN Cody Jinks' new set Lifers arrives at a personal-best No. 2 on Top Country Albums with 24,000 units. On Americana/Folk Albums, the set starts at No. 1. Jinks makes his first appearance on Americana/Folk Albums and second on Top Country Albums, following I'm Not the Devil, which debuted and peaked at No. 4 in 2016.