Chart Beat

Reba McEntire Returns to Hot Country Songs Chart

Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for dcp

Reba attends the 2014 American Country Countdown Awards at Music City Center on December 15, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.

After a three-year absence, Reba scores a career-high debut. Plus, moves for Sam Hunt, Carrie Underwood & more.

Reba McEntire scores a career-high bow at No. 28 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart with "Going Out Like That," her first single in more than three years and the lead track from her still-untitled new album, due in April.

The song surpasses the 2011 Country Music Hall of Fame honoree's previous top start, set when "If You See Him/If You See Her" (with Brooks & Dunn) opened at No. 32 in 1998. (The chart was then based solely on airplay; since Oct. 20, 2012, it's measured airplay, sales and streaming.) "That" also marks McEntire's career-high digital sales week and highest rank on Country Digital Songs, where it enters at No. 13 with 21,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen Music. She set her previous best rank and sales sum when "Consider Me Gone" debuted and peaked at No. 19 with 19,000 sold (Jan. 23, 2010).

McEntire's new single marks the first chart appearance for the recently-launched Nash Icon imprint, a joint venture between radio owner Cumulus Media and the Big Machine Label Group. Other artists in the Nash Icon stable include Martina McBride and Ronnie Dunn.

'TIME' IS UP: Sam Hunt lands his first No. 1 on Country Digital Songs with "Take Your Time," which blasts 13-1 with 34,000 sold (up 39 percent). "Time" also jumps 24-17 on the Country Streaming Songs chart (668,000 U.S. streams, up 28 percent), claiming top Digital and Streaming Gainer applause on Hot Country Songs (22-15).

Upping Hunt's profile in the tracking week: the Jan. 6 announcement of Lady Antebellum's Wheels Up 2015 Tour, with Hunt and Hunter Hayes. The trek kicks off Feb. 28 in Sweden before arriving in the U.S. in May. Hunt also headlines his own Lipstick Graffiti Tour, which begins Jan. 29 in West Hollywood, Calif.

RECORD-TYING SPLASH: Carrie Underwood matches her longest No. 1 reign on Hot Country Songs with "Something in the Water," which holds for a sixth cumulative week atop the chart. She first led for six weeks with "Jesus, Take the Wheel," her first promoted country single, in 2006.

"Water" additionally logs a 15th week at No. 1 on Hot Christian Songs (encompassing its entire run on the chart). It's one of just 10 songs in the chart's history, which dates to 2003, to rule for at least 15 weeks.

Brad Paisley Q&A: Country Star Talks 'Moonshine,' 'Accidental Racist' & Air Force One Trophies

'STORM' STILL RAGING: Brad Paisley's "Perfect Storm" holds for a second week at No. 1 on the Country Airplay tally, marking the 10th of his 19 total leaders to spend multiple weeks at the summit. It's his first to do so in more than three years: "Old Alabama," featuring Alabama, which led for two weeks in June 2011. Paisley posted his longest run at No. 1 with "Letter to Me" (four weeks, 2008).

RUNAWAY HORSES: Nashville quartet A Thousand Horses bow at No. 48 on Country Airplay with "Smoke," marking the second-highest entrance for a group's first chart single since the chart launched 25 years ago. Sibling foursome Jypsi set the mark when its initial hit, "I Don't Love You Like That," soared in at No. 46 (Jan. 19, 2008); it peaked two months later at No. 38.

A Thousand Horses hit the road with Darius Rucker, Brett Eldredge and Brothers Osborne for the Southern Style Tour, which starts May 14 in Holmdel, N.J. and is initially scheduled to hit 30 cities across North America.