Americana-country singer-songwriter Margo Price’s debut LP, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter (Third Man), makes a historic debut on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, arriving at No. 10 with 4,000 sold in its opening week, according to Nielsen Music.
The launch marks the first time in the history of the chart, which dates to Jan. 8, 1964, that a solo female has debuted in the top 10 with her first charted title without the benefit of any history on the Hot Country Songs ranking. Coming the closest is American Idol season 10 contestant Lauren Alaina, whose self-titled album debuted on Top Country Albums at No. 9 the same week (June 11, 2011) that her first Hot Country Songs hit, “Like My Mother Does,” bowed on that list at No. 49.
Among male artists, examples of top 10 Top Country Albums entrances without Hot Country Songs backup are more plentiful; country comedian Wheeler Walker Jr.’s Redneck Shit (Thirty Tigers) started at No. 9 on March 5, for instance, while, among acts of more than one member, Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots’ The Critics Give It 5 Stars (Black River) entered the April 9 survey at No. 4. While neither act boasts any Hot Country Songs history, the latter’s initial single, “Fishin’ With My Dad,” began at No. 60 on Country Airplay the same week.
Price, 32, makes her start powered in part by critical acclaim and media buzz; she’ll be the musical guest on NBC’s Saturday Night Live on April 9.
URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Keith Urban’s “Wasted Time” (Hit Red/Capitol Nashville) bounds onto Country Airplay at No. 20 with 12.5 million first-week audience impressions. Urban scores his second-highest debut on the chart among 39 career entries; only “Once in a Lifetime” began higher (No. 17, 2006).
Co-written by Urban, “Time” is the third single from his eighth studio album, Ripcord (May 6), following the No. 2 Country Airplay hit “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” and the No. 1 “Break on Me.”
On Hot Country Songs, “Time” starts at No. 29, also bolstered by sales of 9,000. Urban took advantage of his judge’s platform on Fox’s American Idol to perform the single live on the show March 31. Now in its 15th and final season, Idol begins its three-part finale April 5.
Concurrently on Country Airplay, newly minted Academy of Country Music Awards entertainer of the year Jason Aldean bounds in at No. 29 (9 million) with “Lights Come On” (Broken Bow), the first single from his forthcoming album, expected this summer. Of his 29 total visits, he has made loftier launches only with 2014’s “Burnin’ It Down” and 2012’s “Take a Little Ride,” both at No. 19 (and both eventual No. 1s).
LYNCH, McGRAW HIT TOP 10: Dustin Lynch’s “Mind Reader” (Broken Bow) pushes 11-9 on Country Airplay (28 million, up 10 percent), marking his fourth top 10 after two consecutive No. 1s: “Where It’s At (Yep, Yep)” (two weeks, 2014) and “Hell of a Night” (one, 2015).
Also moving into the Country Airplay top 10 is Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” (McGraw/Big Machine) (14-10; 24.8 million, up 3 percent). McGraw earns his 55th top 10, second only to George Strait, who leads with 61 dating to the chart’s January 1990 inception. “Humble,” which holds at its No. 4 Hot Country Songs peak, leads Country Digital Songs for a second week (38,000 downloads sold, up 9 percent).
SOUNDS LIKE A HIT: Meanwhile, Kenny Chesney’s “Noise” (Blue Chair/Columbia Nashville), which he co-wrote with Shane McAnally, Ross Copperman and Jon Nite, lifts 21-18 in its second week on Country Airplay (16.1 million, up 23 percent). On Hot Country Songs, “Noise” surges 33-14, also powered by 33,000 sold, as it enters Country Digital Songs at No. 2. Chesney’s 17th studio set, Some Town Somewhere, will be released July 8.
“Once again, Kenny delivers a hit song that fans connect with on a personal level,” Sony Music Nashville executive vp/COO Ken Robold tells Billboard. “To launch the single, he spoke directly to them through a Facebook Live event from his tour rehearsals. The strong sales debut speaks volumes to the -connection he maintains with his audience.”