Luke Bryan is the new leader on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, while Martina McBride earns her first No. 1 in five years on Top Country Albums.
Results from the first complete Nielsen SoundScan/BDS tracking week following the April 6 Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS spur noticeable chart gains, led by Bryan. The show helps hurl the gala co-host and performer 3-1 on the sales/airplay/streaming-based Hot Country Songs chart with “Play It Again,” the top Digital and Streaming Gainer. It also lifts the album housing the track, “Crash My Party,” 3-2 with Greatest Gainer honors (up 14 percent to 19,000 sold) on Top Country Albums.
Bryan’s eighth leader on Hot Country Songs, “Again” logs a second week at No. 1 on Country Digital Songs with a 24 percent increase to 108,000 sold (upping its overall sum to 532,000) and posts the biggest spike on Country Streaming Songs (4-3; 1.4 million U.S. streams, up percent).
Dating to his first No. 1, “Rain Is a Good Thing,” on the July 24, 2010, chart, Bryan’s eight Hot Country Songs No. 1s are the most of any act. He passes Blake Shelton, who’s scored seven in that span. “Again” also flies 26-14 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, surpassing Bryan’s prior top peak of No. 15 with “That’s My Kind of Night” last fall.
Other ACM-related gains on this week’s charts: Vocal duo of the year winner Florida Georgia Line sees its “Here’s to the Good Times” rise 4-3 on Top Country Albums (17,000, up 15 percent), while Kacey Musgraves’ album of the year honoree “Same Trailer Different Park” shifts 13-7 (7,000, up 27 percent).
ACM performer Tim McGraw opens at No. 9 on Country Digital Songs with “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” featuring his wife, Faith Hill. The track starts with 33,000 downloads sold and launches as the Hot Shot Debut (No. 26) on Hot Country Songs. On the latter list, it’s Hill’s highest debut among her 46 career entries, besting the No. 27 start of her ninth and most recent No. 1, “Mississippi Girl,” in 2005 (when the chart was solely airplay-based).
Florida Georgia Line, meanwhile, scores its second leader on Country Streaming Songs with “This is How We Roll,” featuring Bryan (1.7 million, up 21 percent). The song departs the Hot Country Songs summit after four weeks at No. 1.
Additionally, multiple ACM award winner Miranda Lambert becomes the first solo female artist to crack the Hot Country Songs top 10 in more than two months, as “Automatic” surges 12-6. She’s the first woman to reach the region since Musgraves, whose “Follow Your Arrow” peaked at No. 10 on the Feb. 15 chart. On Country Digital Songs, “Automatic” shifts 8-4 (51,000, up 63 percent).
INDEPENDENT SPIRIT: Martina McBride becomes the only woman in the Top Country Albums chart’s 50-year history to debut at No. 1 with an independently-released and -distributed album, as “Everlasting,” on the Vinyl Recordings label, arrives with 21,000 sold.
The title, which also opens at No. 2 on Independent Albums, is also the first indie release by a solo female to reach No. 1 on Top Country Albums (debut or not) in the 23-year SoundScan era. On the Billboard 200, McBride’s No. 7 bow marks her highest debut since “Wake Up Laughing” started at its No. 4 peak seven years ago.
“Everlasting,” a covers set of largely pop classics like “Suspicious Minds,” “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” is McBride’s fifth Top Country Albums topper and first since “Shine” debuted at No. 1 on the April 11, 2009, chart. She previously reigned with “Greatest Hits” (2001), “Martina” (2003) and “Timeless” (2005) (all released on RCA).
COME ON BACK: Carlene Carter scores her highest rank on Top Country Albums in more than 20 years, as “Carter Girl” debuts at No. 40. She last charted higher with “Little Love Letters,” which peaked at No. 35 the week of Aug. 21, 1993. She scored her best peak with 1990’s “I Fell in Love” (No. 19).
The daughter of the late June Carter and Carl Smith (June Carter’s first husband; she was married to Johnny Cash from 1968 until her passing in 2003), Carlene Carter tallied three No. 3 Hot Country Songs hits in 1990-93: “I Fell in Love,” “Come on Back” and “Every Little Thing.”
Additional reporting by Gary Trust