A VERY GOOD (HALF) YEAR: Chris Stapleton's Traveller has now spent a total of six months atop Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. The LP increases 11 percent to 12,000 sold in the week ending Jan. 12 and leads the list for a 26th (nonconsecutive) week. To date, Traveller has sold 1.8 million copies since its release.
The set from Stapleton, Billboard's Top Country Artist of 2016, marks the longest rule since Lady Antebellum's Need You Now dominated for 31 weeks in 2010-11. Among solo males, Traveller logs the longest run at No. 1 since 1994, when Tim McGraw's Not a Moment Too Soon dominated for 29 frames. Among all artists, Shania Twain boasts the longest command of Top Country Albums (dating to the chart's January 1964 launch), as her Come On Over spent 50 weeks at No. 1, starting with its Nov. 22, 1997, debut.
Traveller arrived at No. 2 on May 23, 2015, but didn't hit No. 1 for sixth months (on the Nov. 21 chart). Its first week on top was fueled by Stapleton's Nov. 4, 2015, spotlight at the 49th Annual Country Music Association Awards when he won for male vocalist, new artist and album of the year (for Traveller), and Justin Timberlake joined him for a rousing performance of the Traveller title cut, "Tennessee Whiskey," and Timberlake's "Drink You Away."
The CMAs also sparked Stapleton's first Hot Country Songs No. 1, as "Tennessee Whiskey" re-entered the Nov. 21 list at the top (marking the first No. 1 re-entry on the survey). Meanwhile, on the current Hot Country Songs chart (dated Jan. 28), "Whiskey" shows its resilience as it re-enters at No. 9. It storms 21-2 on Country Digital Song Sales (up 208 percent to 26,000 downloads sold) and lifts 5-3 on Country Streaming Songs (up 41 percent to 3.4 million U.S. streams).
The latest resurgence of "Whiskey" stems from Texan Kris Jones, whose daughter sweetly caught him on video as he sang the tune while rolling down the highway. The country carpool karaoke, posted Jan. 2, has raked in 13 million global YouTube views.
As for the original "Whiskey" singer, Stapleton is reportedly finishing his second studio album for Mercury Nashville, with Dave Cobb, who produced Traveller, returning in the role.
A GUY WITH A GILL: Chris Young's "Sober Saturday Night," featuring Vince Gill, ascends to the Country Airplay top 10 (12-10), gaining 5 percent to 27.3 million audience impressions.
With "Sober," which Young wrote with Brett and Brad Warren, Young banks his 12th top 10 and seventh straight, since "I Can Take It From There," which peaked at No. 4 in April 2013. Gill earns his milestone 25th Country Airplay top 10 and first since Brooks & Dunn's "Burning Bridges," featuring Sheryl Crow and Gill (No. 4, 2006). Gill last reached the upper tier as a lead artist with "Feels Like Love" (No. 6, 2000).