Newcomer Sam Hunt tops three Billboard country charts — Top Country Albums, Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay — as his first full-length set, Montevallo, opens with 70,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (Digital sales account for a hefty 71 percent of the sum.)
Meanwhile, lead track “Leave the Night On” dominates the multi-metric Hot Country Songs survey and the Nielsen BDS-fueled Country Airplay chart, rising 2-1 on each list. Hunt is just the second solo male in the SoundScan-era (since 1991) to simultaneously lead Top Country Albums and Hot Country Songs with a rookie release, and the first in more than 22 years. Billy Ray Cyrus first did so, ruling Hot Country Songs with “Achy Breaky Heart” as his debut set Some Gave All bowed at No. 1 on Top Country Albums (June 6, 1992).
Hunt is the first new male artist in two years to launch at No. 1 on Top Country Albums with a first full-length studio set; Dustin Lunch’s self-titled debut began at No. 1 on Sept. 8, 2012. Hunt is the second rookie act in 2014 to bow at No. 1 on Top Country Albums, following Dan + Shay’s top-ranked start with Where It All Began (April 19).
“Night” is also the third new artist’s debut single to crown Hot Country Songs since it switched from covering core country radio airplay to a sales/airplay/streaming hybrid two years ago. The first two: Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” and Cole Swindell’s “Chillin’ It.”
On Hot Country Songs, Hunt’s track halts a 14-week reign by Jason Aldean‘s “Burnin’ It Down,” which drops to No. 2. Still, Aldean’s track collects a 12th week atop Country Digital Songs (37,000 downloads sold) and controls Country Streaming Songs for a 13th frame (2.1 million total U.S. streams, down 14 percent).
A ‘HOLIDAYS’ HIT: Darius Rucker returns to Top Country Albums, as Home for the Holidays debuts at No. 7 with 9,000 sold. It follows Rucker’s three proper country albums, all of which began at No. 1: Learn to Live (2008), Charleston, SC 1966 (2010) and True Believers (2013).
Meanwhile, Rucker bullets at No. 25 on Hot Country Songs with the non-seasonal “Homegrown Honey.” The song previews his forthcoming next studio set.
BOWEN BOWS: Elsewhere on Top Country Albums, Texas red dirt-circuit veteran Wade Bowen matches his previous best debut and rank, as his self-titled set starts at No. 9 (9,000). His previous album, The Given, opened at the same spot and with an almost identical sum in June 2012.