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Lindy Conant, Shirley Caesar Lead Christian & Gospel Albums Charts
Conant & The Circuit Riders rule Top Christian Albums in their first visit, while Caesar crowns Top Gospel Albums for the first time since 1992.
Lindy Conant & The Circuit Riders, fronted by missionary, worship leader and singer-songwriter Conant, launch at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart (dated June 25) with its debut set, Every Nation. The LP bows with 7,000 copies sold in its first week, becoming the first debut album to start at No. 1 on the ranking in 2016.
Notably, all of the set's sales were digital, as the act, which records for Rogue Music Alliance (RMA), does not have a partnership with a distributor. The album, with all tracks either written or co-written by Conant, was recorded live at Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif.
Every Nation is the first debut album to crown Top Christian Albums in its first week since Oct. 17, 2015, when Amanda Cook's Brave New World began at the summit with 19,000 sold.
"It's like a whirlwind of joy, and I'm in awe of all of this," Conant tells Billboard. "Only God could do something like this, and I can't believe God chose to accelerate our music this quickly. It's humbling and also exciting at the same time."
Concurrently on Top Christian Albums, Christian rapper Da T.R.U.T.H. tallies his sixth top 10, all consecutively since 2007, as It's Complicated arrives at No. 5 with 2,000 sold. The set follows 2014's Heartbeat, which started at No. 7 (4,000). He logged his highest rank with 2009's No. 4-peaking The Big Picture (4,000).
On Top Gospel Albums, genre star Shirley Caesar's Fill This House ascends 23-1 in its second frame (following its first wide-release week) with 2,000 sold. Caesar scores her first No. 1 on the chart since 1992, when He's Working It Out for You led for three weeks. In between, she collected 12 top 10s. The new set's lead single, "It's Alright, It's OK," featuring Anthony Hamilton, lifts 13-12 on Hot Gospel Songs and 12-11 on Gospel Airplay.
Simultaneously on Top Gospel Albums, Make It, from Charles Butler & Trinity, debuts at No. 2 (1,000). It's the act's second chart entry, following 2014's No. 7-peaking More Than Enough.
Finally, Ryan Stevenson notches his first Hot Christian Songs top 10, as "Eye of the Storm," featuring GabeReal, pushes 12-10. As the chart blends airplay, sales and streaming data, "Storm" surges helped by its 16 percent gain to 7 million in audience on Christian Airplay, where it climbs 10-8; on Christian Digital Songs, the track descends 8-9, but increases by 11 percent to 3,000 downloads sold.
Stevenson previously reached a No. 20 high in 2013 with his first Hot Christian Songs hit, "Holding Nothing Back."