Tim McGraw's 'Sundown' Shines at No. 1 on Top Country Albums

Donn Jones/CMA
Tim McGraw performs at LP Field on Thursday, June 5 during the 2014 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville.

Tim McGraw fortifies his No. 2 standing on the list of artists with the most Nielsen SoundScan-era No. 1s on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, as he collects his 15th leader with Sundown Heaven Town.

The new set arrives with 71,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. McGraw is now one chart-topper away from tying George Strait's record 16 No. 1s since the chart adopted SoundScan data in May 1991. Meanwhile, Strait bows below McGraw, as his The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium debuts at No. 2 with 51,000.

"Shotgun Rider," the second single from McGraw's new set, enters Hot Country Songs at No. 25. Lead track "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" dips 14-16 following a No. 7 peak on the Aug. 23 list.

RECORD CHASE: Chase Rice completes the longest top 10 climb since Hot Country Songs converted from core country radio audience impressions to a sales/airplay/streaming hybrid in October 2012, as "Ready Set Roll" rises 12-10 in its 42nd week. It passes Scotty McCreery's 35-week ascent with "See You Tonight," which peaked at No. 10 in March.

Rice's track has sold 784,000 total downloads sold through the week ending Sept. 21.

LEAVING A MARK: Jason Aldean earns a career-best start on Hot Country Songs with "Gonna Know We Were Here," the Hot Shot Debut at No. 12. The ink barely dry on his previous best launch, "Here" surpasses "Sweet Little Somethin'," which opened at No. 17 on Sept. 20. Both tracks are from Aldean's album Old Boots, New Dirt, due Oct. 7.

On Country Digital Songs, "Gonna" bows at No. 2 with 71,000 downloads sold. The album's lead single, "Burnin' It Down," logs a ninth week atop Hot Country Songs and the same weekly count at the Country Digital Songs summit, with 78,000 sold during the tracking week. On Country Streaming Songs, "Burnin'" claims a seventh week at No. 1 (2.7 million total U.S. streams, down 6 percent, according to Nielsen BDS).

A RECORD? 'YEP': As Dustin Lynch dominates the BDS-based Country Airplay chart for a second week with "Where It's At (Yep, Yep)," the song posts the biggest weekly audience sum (50.28 million impressions) since the chart's methodology switched from total plays to audience impressions in January 2005.

The figure surpasses Thomas Rhett's 50.27 million impressions for "It Goes Like This" on the Nov. 29, 2013, chart.

Kenny Chesney Heading for Eighth No. 1 Album

'NIGHT' TIME: Elsewhere on Country Airplay, Sam Hunt makes the quickest top 10 ascent by a new act (i.e., excluding known entities like Darius Rucker or Wynonna, who started in groups before going solo) with a debut single in nearly two years, as "Leave the Night On" rises 11-10 in its 15th week. That's the quickest rise into the upper region for a song by such a newcomer since Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" crossed the top 10 threshold in its 14th frame in November 2012.

Since the chart launched in January 1990, the fastest top 10 sprint for a debut track by a rookie with no prior chart history is seven weeks, with four songs holding the distinction: Tracy Lawrence's "Sticks and Stones" (1991); Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart" (1992); LeAnn Rimes' "Blue" (1996); and Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" (2004).

ANOTHER ROUND: With her first chart entry as a sole lead artist in six years, Trisha Yearwood returns to Country Airplay with "PrizeFighter" (featuring Kelly Clarkson), which punches in at No. 59. Yearwood had last appeared with sole top billing with "They Call It Falling for a Reason," which peaked at No. 54 in August 2008. Her most recent non-seasonal entry was "The Call," with husband Garth Brooks, which debuted and peaked at No. 49 on Dec. 28, 2013.

"PrizeFighter" previews Yearwood's upcoming album, her first for Sony Music Nashville; no release date or title has yet been announced.