Josh Gracin Makes His Presence Known

Newcomer Becomes Highest-Debuting Male Country Artist in 12 Years

Josh Gracin stormed onto the country albums chart to claim his status as the highest-debuting new male country artist since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking music sales in 1992. And proving that good guys do win, Montgomery Gentry made their own bit of history this week by scoring their first No. 1 single.

Gracin, a U.S. Marine who gained attention as an American Idol 2 contestant, sold 57,000 copies of his debut album to arrive at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums list. First-week sales were enough to land the 23-year-old Michigan native at No. 11 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart.

Montgomery Gentry’s “If You Ever Stop Loving Me” finally brought an end to Gretchen Wilson’s five-week stand on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart with “Redneck Woman.” Despite placing six previous singles in the Top 5, Montgomery Gentry had yet to visit the top of the singles chart. Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry had even more to celebrate this week after learning that their latest album, You Do Your Thing, has attained gold certification from the RIAA for shipments of 500,000 copies. It’s the fastest-selling album of their career.

Elsewhere on the singles chart, Toby Keith’s “Whiskey Girl” remains at No. 2, just above “Redneck Woman” at No. 3. Lonestar’s “Let’s Be Us Again” stays at No. 4 with Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” climbing three notches to No. 5 and David Lee Murphy’s “Loco” moving up a slot to No. 6. Brooks & Dunn slip to No. 7 with “That’s What She Gets for Loving Me,” Kenny Chesney climbs to No. 8 with “I Go Back” and John Michael Montgomery falls to No. 9 with “Letters From Home.” “Whiskey Lullaby,”
Brad Paisley’s collaboration with Alison Krauss, moves up one slot to complete the Top 10.

Two familiar acts debuted this week with the first singles from their upcoming albums. Keith Urban lands at No. 37 with “Days Go By,” with Trick Pony galloping to No. 59 with “The Bride.”

Gracin’s impressive showing still couldn’t push Wilson’s own debut album, Here for the Party, from the top of the country albums chart. Her Muzik Mafia associates, Big & Rich, rise one notch to No. 3 with their debut, Horse of a Different Color. Chesney’s When the Sun Goes Down slips slightly to No. 4, Keith’s Shock ’n Y’all holds on at No. 5 and Urban’s Golden Road travels north to No. 6. Paisley’s Mud on the Tires gets some added traction to climb to No. 7, while Alan Jackson’s Greatest Hits Volume II moves up to No. 8.

Debuting at No. 9 on the country albums chart is Patriotic Country, an all-star compilation of previously released material from Lonestar, Phil Vassar, Charlie Daniels, Aaron Tippin and David Ball. And what compilation of patriotic country music would be complete without a version of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”? SHeDAISY round out the Top 10 after debuting at No. 2 on last week’s chart with Sweet Right Here.

Another all-star compilation, Amazing Grace 3: A Country Salute to Gospel, enters the chart at No. 28. The collection includes interpretations of classic gospel songs by Urban, Sara Evans, Josh Turner, Buddy Jewell, Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley and others. A new Chris LeDoux retrospective, 20 Originals: The Early Years, debuts at No. 58.

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