Loretta Lynn: Comeback Queen Hits the Charts

Van Lear Rose Marks Her Highest Debut Ever on Billboard 200

Loretta Lynn is getting so much media attention these days, you’d almost think she was a cast member on Friends. Following a series of high-profile TV appearances with her producer, Jack White of the White Stripes, Lynn has achieved her highest debut ever on a national chart tracking album sales of all musical styles.

Lynn’s Van Lear Rose debuts at No. 24 on the all-inclusive Billboard 200 and at No. 2 on the music trade publication’s country albums chart. Her previous peak on the Billboard 200 was at No. 42 with 1993’s Honky Tonk Angels, a project with Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Lynn’s career includes 17 titles that topped the country albums chart.

Strong showings by Lynn and Mary Chapin Carpenter shook up Billboard’s Top Country Albums list, although Kenny Chesney still hasn’t budged from No. 1 with When the Sun Goes Down. Lynn’s new album tips Keith Urban’s Golden Road to No. 3, while Toby Keith’s Shock’n Y’all stays in fourth place. Carpenter’s Between Here and Gone arrives at No. 5 to contribute to slight slides for the remaining albums in the Top 10. John Michael Montgomery’s Letters From Home is in sixth place, followed by the latest CDs from Tracy Lawrence, Alan Jackson, Josh Turner and Rascal Flatts.

No other country albums debuted this week, although interest in Between Here and Gone boosted sales of The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter to prompt its re-entry at No. 60.

The usual suspects are in the upper reaches of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks, where the Top 3 remain the same: Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me,” trailed by the Chesney/Uncle Kracker duet, “When the Sun Goes Down,” and Rascal Flatts’ “Mayberry.” Newcomer Gretchen Wilson and Montgomery swap places, with her “Redneck Woman” landing at No. 4 and his “Letters From Home” moving to No. 5. Holding steady are Lawrence’s “Paint Me a Birmingham” (No. 6) and George Strait’s “Desperately” (No. 7). Climbing one slot each are Lonestar’s “Let Us Be Us Again” (No. 8) and Montgomery Gentry’s “If You Ever Stop Loving Me” (No. 9). And after only nine weeks on the chart, Toby Keith’s “Whiskey Girl” becomes his latest Top 10 single.

Rushlow, the band, scored the highest-debuting country single of the week with “Sweet Summer Rain” arriving at No. 56. Although their respective record companies won’t start aggressively seeking radio airplay until Monday (May 10), Blue County’s “That’s Cool” and Dierks Bentley’s “How Am I Doin'” also make their first chart appearances.

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.