Kacey Musgraves 'Material'-izes at No. 1 on Country Chart; Little Big Town Ties Record
Kacey Musgraves debuts atop Billboard's Top Country Albums chart (dated July 11) with Pageant Material. The set starts with 55,000 copies in its launch week, according to Nielsen Music, marking her best sales week. Musgraves manages her second No. 1 in as many tries, as her debut, Same Trailer Different Park, opened atop the April 6, 2013 chart with 43,000; it returned for a second week at No. 1 on the Feb. 14, 2014 tally following its win for best country album at the 56th Grammy Awards. It has sold 519,000 copies to date.
While the new set launches at No. 1, country radio has largely avoided its music, owed likely in part to Musgraves' atypical country lyrical themes and/or the battles that women have long faced at the format. The new set's "Biscuits" stalled at No. 41 on Country Airplay in May. "I hear a lot in the industry, 'This is the way it's done, so you have to follow suit,' " Musgraves recently told Billboard. "Why can't we look at other options?"
Canaan Smith also makes an impressive debut on Top Country Albums, as Bronco bows at No. 4 (12,000 sold). The set follows his eponymous debut EP, which debuted and peaked at No. 16 in April. Smith's first Hot Country Songs top 10, "Love You Like That," hits a new high on the chart (10-9).
Atop Hot Country Songs, Little Big Town matches a record, as "Girl Crush" reigns for a 10th week. The command ties for the longest by a group (of at least three members) in the chart's history. It matches the domination enjoyed by trio The Browns with "The Three Bells" beginning Aug. 31, 1959.
"Crush" likewise logs a 10th week at No. 1 on Country Digital Songs, down 6 percent to 68,000 downloads sold, and returns for a second week atop Country Streaming Songs (2.6 million U.S. streams, essentially equal to the prior tracking period).
Bookending the top 10 of Billboard's Country Streaming chart, Kelsea Ballerini reaches the region with "Love Me Like You Mean It." Her former Country Airplay No. 1 bounds 16-10 on the list (1.4 million streams, up 19 percent).
This article first appeared in Billboard's Country Update -- sign up here.