Media Attention Drives Miranda Lambert to Top of Chart

Craig Morgan Spends a Second Week at No. 1

Now that her just-released debut album has hit No. 1, maybe Miranda Lambert will think about upgrading her means of transportation.

“When my manager called with the news, I was driving home from the gym, and I had to tell him to hang on because my truck had just died,” Lambert said. “I had to pull over to the side of the road. I’d like to say it was just because of the shock I was feeling, but my truck really wouldn’t start. It’s an old beat-up Ford, and it’s always doing that, but it picked the perfect moment.”

In addition to debuting at the top of Billboard’s Top Country Albums, Lambert’s Kerosene also debuted at No. 18 on the all-genre Billboard 200. Without the benefit of a smash single, the 21-year-old singer-songwriter sold approximately 40,000 copies of her album. Her debut single, “Me and Charlie Talking,” peaked last week at No. 27, but her record label will begin aggressively seeking radio airplay for her second single, “Bring Me Down,” on April 4.

However, Lambert’s appearances on NBC’s Today and the cover of USA Today clearly had a major impact on sales, as have reviews and features in national magazines and newspapers.

Meanwhile on the country singles chart, Craig Morgan is enjoying the greatest success of his career as “That’s What I Love About Sunday” remains at No. 1 for a second week. With Sugarland and Kenny Chesney making two notch leaps, both acts are positioned to take over the top slot in the coming weeks. Sugarland’s “Baby Girl” lands at No. 2, and Chesney’s “Anything but Mine” moves to No. 3. Two recent No. 1 singles — Josh Gracin’s “Nothin’ to Lose” and Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road” — slip to fourth and fifth place, respectively. Sixth through eighth place are unchanged this week with Brooks & Dunn’s “It’s Getting Better All the Time” followed by Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone” and Billy Dean’s “Let Them Be Little.” Jo Dee Messina’s “My Give a Damn’s Busted” climbs one notch to No. 9, and Lee Ann Womack returns the classic country sound to the Top 10 with “I May Hate Myself in the Morning.”

The highest-debuting single of the week is Alan Jackson’s “The Talkin’ Song Repair Blues.” Entering the chart at No. 45, the song was written by Dennis Linde, whose credits include “Goodbye Earl,” “John Deere Green” and “Burning Love.” LeAnn Rimes debuts at No. 52 with “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way,” while MuzikMafioso Cowboy Troy introduces hick-hop to country music with his debut single, “I Play Chicken With the Train.” Newcomer Amber Dotson shows up at No. 59 with “I’ll Try Anything.”

Lambert’s Kerosene created a little movement on the country albums chart. Rascal Flatts remain in second place with Feels Like Today, and the multi-artist compilation Totally Country Vol. 4 climbs two levels to No. 3. Several artists take slight slides in the fourth to seventh place rungs where Chesney’s Be As You Are: Songs From an Old Blue Chair is followed by Shania Twain’s Greatest Hits, Gretchen Wilson’s Here for the Party and Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying. Chesney’s previous album, When the Sun Goes Down, climbs one slot to No. 8, Toby Keith’s Greatest Hits 2 slips a notch to No. 9 and Brad Paisley’s Mud on the Tires climbs four spaces to return to the Top 10.

Kerosene is the only title debuting on Billboard’s latest country albums chart.

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