Kane Brown Bows At No. 1 On Top Country Albums; Old Dominion Crowns Country Airplay

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Kane Brown poses for a portrait in the 2016 CMT Music Awards portrait studio at Bridgestone Arena on June 8, 2016 in Nashville, Tenn.

For the second time in 2016, an artist's debut full-length arrives at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart (dated Dec. 24), as Kane Brown's self-titled set starts with 45,000 copies sold in its first week (ending Dec. 8), according to Nielsen Music.

On the all-genre, consumption-based Billboard 200, the set begins at No. 10 with 51,000 equivalent album units.

"A No. 1 country album has been a dream of mine since I began singing," Brown tells Billboard. "I'm so grateful to the fans that got me here, because I wouldn't have anything without their support."

Brown's No. 1 Top Country Albums entrance marks the first for a debut full-length since Maren Morris' Hero bowed at the chart's summit (on the chart dated June 25) with 37,000 sold. (Morris was honored with the Breakthrough Star award at Billboard's 2016 Women in Music celebration (Dec. 9), which airs on Lifetime on Dec. 12. With 45,000 copies shifted in its maiden sales week, Brown's set scores the biggest launch sales frame for a debut LP since Sam Hunt's Montevallo opened at No. 1 with 70,000 (Nov. 15, 2014).

The 23-year-old Brown signed to RCA Nashville in early 2016 after building a following through social media, mainly by posting covers of songs by such artists as George Strait, Brantley Gilbert and Alan Jackson. Prior to his deal, the singer-songwriter independently released the six-song EP Closer, which debuted on Top Country Albums at No. 22 (June 20, 2015) and peaked at No. 7 (Nov. 7, 2015). His follow-up EP, the five-song Chapter 1, debuted and peaked at No. 3 on Top Country Albums (and No. 9 on the Billboard 200) on April 9.

"Used to Love You Sober," the first single from Chapter 1, peaked at No. 15 on Hot Country Songs and No. 35 on Country Airplay. "Thunder in the Rain," the lead track from Brown's new album, re-enters Hot Country Songs at No. 39 and lifts 51-47 on Country Airplay, increasing by 23 percent to 1.8 million audience impressions.

Brown co-wrote seven of the new LP's 11 tracks, while others such as Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line also contributed. Earlier this year, Brown opened for FGL on the pair's Dig Your Roots Tour. He is in the midst of his first major headlining run, the Ain't No Stopping Us Now Tour, which will wrap in Houston on Jan. 21, 2017.

IT'S THEIR 'TIME': Old Dominion's "Song for Another Time" ascends 2-1 in its 27th week on Country Airplay (44.1 million, up 3 percent), marking the act's second No. 1. The group (Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Whit Sellers, Geoff Sprung and Brad Tursi) leads again with the third single from its debut album, Meat and Candy. Debut hit "Break Up With Him" topped the chart for two weeks (beginning Nov. 14, 2015), and "Snapback" reached No. 2 (June 4).

"We love this song so much," says Ramsey of the track, which name-drops a bevy of classic song titles from multiple genres in its lyrics. "We knew there was something special about it the moment we wrote it, and seeing country radio and our fans embrace it has been a thrill."

'GIRL' IS OFFICIALLY A (TOP) 10: Blake Shelton's "A Guy With a Girl" jumps 13-9 on Hot Country Songs, becoming his 27th top 10. Shelton, the coach of Team Blake on NBC's The Voice, performed the song on the show on Dec. 6, helping spur its 45 percent jump to 12,000 downloads sold as it bounds 15-7 on Country Digital Song Sales.

Meanwhile, Granger Smith notches his second Country Airplay top 10, as "If the Boot Fits" kicks 11-9, up 7 percent to 26 million. Smith's breakthrough single, "Backroad Song," crowned the Feb. 27 chart. And Thomas Rhett's "Star of the Show" becomes his eighth Country Airplay top 10 (12-10), gaining by 7 percent to 25.7 million.