Current Events Impact Country Singles Chart

With America concentrating on war and rumors of war, the impact trickles down to this week’s country music charts. Despite a public apology, Natalie Maines’ recent comment about the president resulted in radio boycotts that knocked the Dixie Chicks ‘ “Travelin’ Soldier” from the top of Billboard‘s Hot Country Singles & Tracks. Concurrently, Darryl Worley ‘s pro-war opus — “Have You Forgotten?” — has rocketed from No. 22 to No. 2 in just two weeks.

On Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart, the Dixie Chicks’ Home remains at No. 1 despite a slowdown in sales after Maines told a London audience that they were ashamed that President Bush is from Texas, their home state.

Even in turbulent political times, it’s hard to argue with a strong performance of a solid honky-tonk song. Such is the case with Joe Nichols ‘ “Brokenheartsville,” which rises to No. 1 on the singles chart following the Chicks fiasco. Worley’s “Have You Forgotten?” shoots to the second position after jumping to No. 9 last week. With the Chicks dropping to No. 3, other singles taking downward turns this week are Gary Allan ‘s “Man to Man” (No. 4 from No. 2), Kenny Chesney ‘s “Big Star” (No. 5 from No. 4) and Alan Jackson ‘s “That’d Be Alright” (No. 6 from No. 5). Tim McGraw ‘s “She’s My Kind of Rain” climbs one position to No. 7 while Mark Wills ‘ “19 Somethin’” slips a notch to No. 8. Moving up two slots each are Martina McBride ‘s “Concrete Angel” (to No. 9) and Keith Urban ‘s “Raining on Sunday” (to No. 10).

Vince Gill scored the highest-debuting country single of the week with “Someday,” a song he wrote with pop singer-songwriter Richard Marx. At the moment, Clint Black doesn’t officially have a record deal, but that didn’t stop him from streaming a new patriotic song on his Web site. After country radio stations downloaded Black’s track, “I Raq and Roll” debuts at No. 55.

On the country albums chart, the Dixie Chicks’ Home and Shania Twain ‘s Up! spend another week at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. The kickoff of a national tour boosted sales for Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors, which jumps two slots to No. 3. Johnny Cash ‘s American IV: The Man Comes Around stays at No. 4, followed by Toby Keith ‘s Unleashed, which moves to No. 5 from No. 6 with the greatest overall sales gain of the week. Slipping three posts to No. 6 is George Strait ‘s For the Last Time: Live From the Astrodome. Holding steady at No. 7 and No. 8 respectively are Chesney’s No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems and Blake Shelton ‘s The Dreamer. Rascal FlattsMelt jumps five slots to No. 9, and McBride’s Greatest Hits remains at No. 10 for a second week.

Craig Morgan ‘s I Love It, which charts at No. 29, is the only new album title to debut this week. However, several titles re-entered the chart, including Pat Green ‘s Three Days (No. 67), Aaron Tippin ‘s Stars & Stripes (No. 69) and Cross Canadian Ragweed’s self-titled project (No. 70).

Calvin Gilbert has served as CMT.com’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.