He logs his seventh leader on the list, while Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum and George Strait likewise make notable moves
Narrowly missing his first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (where it starts at No. 2), Brad Paisley collects his seventh leader on Top Country Albums with "Wheelhouse," which sells 100,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's the West Virginian's smallest opening-week sum with a non-instrumental studio set since "Mud on the Tires," his first No. 1, debuted atop Top Country Albums with 86,000 in 2003. Paisley scored his biggest weekly sales figure when "5th Gear" motored in with 197,000 sold in 2007.
The new album's lead single, "Southern Comfort Zone," peaked at No. 10 on Hot Country Songs in January, followed by "Beat This Summer," which bullets at No. 19 this week in its sixth frame. Significant attention for "Wheelhouse" track "Accidental Racist," featuring LL Cool J, drives a Hot Shot Debut for the song at No. 23 on Hot Country Songs and a No. 16 bow on Country Digital Songs (43,000 sold).
'CRAZY' 'PARTY': Elsewhere on Hot Country Songs, a pair of titles buoyed by the first complete tracking week following the April 7 Academy of Country Music Awards (CBS) rocket into the top 10, led by Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party," which surges 35-2 with Airplay Gainer honors. The track vaults 24-2 on Country Digital Songs (164,000, up 526%) and jumps onto Country Airplay at No. 28.
Hunter Hayes flies 36-10 on Hot Country Songs with "I Want Crazy," which also improves 32-4 on the digital tally (110,000, up 495%). Coordinated hourly play for the song on April 8 at Clear Channel-owned stations helps give Hayes his best opening-week rank (No. 24, with Hot Shot Debut honors) on Country Airplay. His previous best was a No. 51 start in October with "Somebody's Heartbreak," which peaked two weeks ago at No. 1. The new song will be included in an expanded edition of Hayes' 2011 self-titled debut album, due June 18. Included is his first Hot Country Songs No. 1, "Wanted."
"Party" and "Crazy" first charted on Hot Country Songs and Country Digital Songs last week with just a few hours' worth of data, following their retail releases during the ACM festivities.
CHURCH BUILDING: Eric Church pops onto Top Country Albums at No. 3 with "Caught in the Act: Live," which sells 61,000. It's his second-highest-charting of four top 10s, following his 2011 No. 1 "Chief."
Following multiple wins and a performance on the ACMs, Miranda Lambert's "Four the Record" logs its fattest sales week in more than a year (12,000, up 61%), drawing Greatest Gainer applause as it lifts 19-15 on Top Country Albums. A fourth-quarter 2011 release, Lambert's set hadn't sold that much since it moved the same amount in its ninth week on the chart dated Jan. 14, 2012. It opened atop the Nov. 19, 2011, tally with 133,000 (and has sold 797,000 to date).
Also noteworthy is the second Top Country Albums appearance by Chuck Wicks, who opens at No. 21 with "Rough," an EP that sells 6,000. He peaked on opening week at No. 7 with "Starting Now" in 2008.
'CRUISE' CONTROL: Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise "stacks a seventh cumulative week at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs. With 179,000 downloads sold, it also spends an eighth week atop Country Digital Songs.
The recently-released remix featuring rapper Nelly accounts for 120,000 of the song's weekly total.
'DOWNTOWN' UP TO No. 1: Lady Antebellum completes its fastest trip to the Country Airplay summit, as "Downtown" rises 2-1 in its 12th week. The trio previously reached No. 1 in as quickly as 14 weeks with "Need You Now" in 2009 and "Just a Kiss" in 2011. "Downtown" marks the trio's seventh leader on the list, dating to its first, "I Run to You," in 2009. The group had last ruled with "We Owned the Night" for two weeks in December 2011.
"Downtown," which ranks at No. 6 on Hot Country Songs after reaching No. 2 so far, previews Lady Antebellum's fourth studio album, "Golden," due May 7.
'GOT' ANOTHER: Bookending the Country Airplay top 10, George Strait extends his record for the most top 10s since the chart adopted Nielsen BDS data 23 years ago, as "Give It All We Got Tonight" lifts 11-10. In that span, Strait's 61 top 10s outpace the outputs of next-closest competitors Alan Jackson (51), Tim McGraw (48), Kenny Chesney (45) and Toby Keith (42).
On the airplay/sales/streaming hybrid Hot Country Songs chart, whose earliest origins date to 1944, Strait's 85 top 10s rank second only to Eddy Arnold's 92. George Jones (78), Conway Twitty (75) and Merle Haggard (71) round out the top five. "Tonight" has thus far climbed to No. 14 on the ranking. With 44 Hot Country Songs leaders, Strait continues to hold the record for the most No. 1s in the chart's archives, ahead of Twitty's 40.