CMAs Help George Strait, Toby Keith Nail Number Ones

A rising tide lifts all boats, and a big awards show boosts album sales. Seventeen titles associated with performers on last week’s highly rated CMA broadcast earn bullets this week on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.

Chief among the big sellers is George Strait ’s new one, The Road Less Traveled, buoyed by his awards show performance of “Run.” With 121,000 units tallied by Soundscan, the album debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and also lands at No. 9 on The Billboard 200 chart, which reflects all music genres.

Strait dethrones the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack from the country top spot, but the CMA album of the year shows the biggest sales increase of any title previously on the chart, qualifying it for “Greatest Gainer” status on both the country and overall charts. The album registers at No. 2 country and No. 16 overall.

Toby Keith ’s Pull My Chain moves down a spot to No. 3, Martina McBride ’s Greatest Hits remains at No. 4 and Reba McEntire ’s Greatest Hits Volume III — I’m a Survivor drops two rungs to No. 5. After Nickel Creek ’s appearance on the CMA Awards show, the group’s self-titled first album leaps from No. 31 to No. 19, after 49 weeks on the chart.

Garth BrooksThe Magic of Christmas: Songs From Call Me Claus, from the upcoming TV special Call Me Claus (Dec. 2 on TNT), debuts at No. 44. Also debuting this week are Merle Haggard ’s Roots: Volume I at No. 47 and Lee Greenwood ’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas at No. 67.

Other artists getting a boost from CMA exposure include Tim McGraw , Brooks & Dunn , Sara Evans , Alan Jackson , Lee Ann Womack , Dixie Chicks , Diamond Rio , Brad Paisley , Jamie O’Neal , Jessica Andrews , Trisha Yearwood and Phil Vassar .

“I Wanna Talk About Me” becomes Keith’s third single to top the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart this year. It knocks McGraw’s “Angry All the Time” from No. 1 to No. 5. Travis Tritt ’s “Love of a Woman” holds at No. 2, McEntire’s “I’m a Survivor” jumps four notches to No. 3 and David Ball ’s “Riding with Private Malone” likewise vaults four spots to hit No. 4.

Jackson’s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” which he premiered on the CMA Awards show on Oct. 21, debuts at No. 25. It’s his best first week ever on the singles chart. Brooks’ “Wrapped Up in You” remains stuck at No. 12 for the third straight week. The CMA award-winning “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” by The Soggy Bottom Boys re-enters the chart at No. 50.

CMT will re-broadcast The 35th Annual CMA Awards at 5 p.m. ET/PT Nov. 23.