Hymns becomes the first set in nearly 10 years to crown both Top Christian Albums and Top Country Albums. Alabama had last doubled up when Songs of Inspiration likewise launched atop both lists dated Nov. 11, 2006.
Only two other sets also scored such two-fers in the past two decades: For two earlier weeks in 2006, Alan Jackson's Precious Memories led Top Christian Albums for 22 weeks and Top Country Albums for two (both simultaneous with its Christian reign). Before that, LeAnn Rimes' You Light up My Life - Inspirational Songs paced Top Christian Albums for 35 frames and Top Country Albums for nine (also logging its latter domination while concurrently leading Top Christian Albums).
The success story for Joey + Rory is poignant. Married in 2002, they have one daughter, Indiana, who just turned 2 years old. In 2014, Joey began chemotherapy for stage four cervical cancer. She relapsed in 2015 and is currently under hospice care at the family's home.
"I communicated to my wife, Joey, the good [chart] news about 'her record,'" Rory Feek tells Billboard. "I call it her project, because the Hymns album is one that she has always wanted to make, and she's worked so hard to make it happen, in spite of the difficult circumstances she's facing.
"Her response, through tears, was, 'No, honey, this is God's record. He's gonna be the one that gets all the glory.' And she's right. Only God could make something like this happen."
ASSAD & ANDREWS ARRIVE: Additionally on Top Christian Albums, Audrey Assad's Inheritance, her third top 10 on the chart, opens at No. 2 (8,000 sold). The set scores Assad her best peak and sales week, passing 2012's Heart, which started at No. 3 with 7,000.
Also debuting on Top Christian Albums is Meredith Andrews' Deeper (No. 9, 3,000). Andrews notches her second top 10, following 2013's No. 7-peaking Worth It All (which bowed with a career-best slightly higher sales total than that of her new set).