Tracy Lawrence Returns to Chart Spotlight

Single and New Album Both Hit Top 10 in Same Week

When it comes to jump-starting a music career, nothing’s more effective than a hit record.

After being out of the spotlight for a couple of years, Tracy Lawrence is back on the charts in a big way. His new album, Strong, debuts at No. 2 on the Billboard country albums chart, and his latest single, “Paint Me a Birmingham,” enters the Top 10 on Billboard’s country singles list.

Selling more than 50,000 copies since its release on March 30, Strong also debuts at No. 17 on the Billboard 200, a chart tracking sales of all music genres. Citing Lawrence’s initial sales figures, DreamWorks Records officials are hoping for the kind of success they’ve achieved with Toby Keith, another artist whose career was revived after he joined the label’s roster four years ago.

Kenny Chesney’s When the Sun Goes Down continues to reign at No. 1 on both the country albums and singles charts. With Chesney and Lawrence in the first two album slots, Keith Urban’s Golden Road dips to No. 3. Slipping two notches each are Toby Keith’s Shock’n Y’all (No. 4) and Josh Turner’s Long Black Train (No. 5). Moving down one position each to round out the Top 10 are Alan Jackson’s Greatest Hits Volume II, Chesney’s No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems, Gary Allan’s See If I Care, Rascal Flatts’ Melt and Martina McBride’s Martina.

Things are even less eventful on the country singles chart. With Chesney and Uncle Kracker at the top with “When the Sun Goes Down,” there’s no movement in next four positions, either, where the players are Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me,” Buddy Jewell’s “Sweet Southern Comfort,” Sara Evans’ “Perfect” and Rascal Flatts’ “Mayberry.” John Michael Montgomery climbs two spaces to No. 6 with “Letters From Home,” and Keith’s “American Soldier” falls one level to No. 7. With Lawrence’s single at No. 8 and George Strait’s “Desperately” at No. 9, Tim McGraw falls three spaces to No. 10 with “Watch the Wind Blow By.”

McBride’s “How Far,” the latest single from her Martina album, lands at No. 54 for the highest debut of the week. Trace Adkins’ “Rough & Ready” and Josh Turner’s “What It Ain’t” make their first appearances on the singles chart.

Lawrence’s Strong was the only album debuting this week.

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