Evans, Cagle and Ragweed Debut in Country Top 10

Garth Brooks and Dixie Chicks Are Back on the Singles Chart

Sara Evans, Chris Cagle and Cross Canadian Ragweed shake up Billboard’s country albums chart this week while Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks return to the singles chart after lengthy absences from the spotlight.

Evans sold 125,000 copies of her new album, Real Fine Place, to debut at No. 1 on the country albums chart and at No. 3 on the all-genre Billboard 200. Nickelback and Twista charted new albums that kept Evans out of the top spot of the Billboard 200.

Cagle’s Anywhere but Here arrives at No. 4 on the country albums chart. Cross Canadian Ragweed’s Garage debuts at No. 6.

Brooks’ single, “Good Ride Cowboy,” debuted at No. 18 on the country singles chart following substantial promotion and publicity but only four days of radio airplay. (All other rankings on the singles chart were based on the usual seven days of airplay.) The musical tribute to the late Chris LeDoux is a newly-recorded track that will be featured on Brooks’ upcoming boxed set to be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores.

If Brooks was surprised to score his highest-debuting single ever, the Dixie Chicks were probably shocked and stunned to be on the country chart at all. The three members of the group co-wrote “I Hope” with Keb’ Mo’ and recorded it for paid downloads to Habitat for Humanity and the American Federation of Musicians Gulf Coast Relief Fund in support of the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. With little hoopla and no new album to promote, the single hits the chart at No. 60. Still, this is an act that has been essentially banished from country radio playlists following lead vocalist Natalie Maines’ comments about President. Bush in 2003.

On the singles chart, Keith Urban has scored another No. 1 as “Better Life” knocks Montgomery Gentry’s “Something to Be Proud Of” to second place. Remaining at third and fourth place, respectively, for another week are Craig Morgan’s “Redneck Yacht Club” and Jamie O’Neal’s “Somebody’s Hero.” Climbing one notch each to fifth and sixth place, respectively are Josh Gracin’s “Stay With Me (Brass Bed)” and LeAnn Rimes’ “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way.” Evans’ recent No. 1, “Real Fine Place to Start,” slips two rungs to No. 7. Rascal Flatts’ “Skin (Sarabeth)” climbs two levels to No. 8, Kenny Chesney “Who You’d Be Today” jumps four spaces to No. 9 and newcomer Jason Aldean has scored his first Top 10 single with “Hicktown.”

With Brooks leading the pack of artists debuting new singles, Brooks & Dunn’s “Believe” enters the chart at No. 49, followed by Gretchen Wilson’s “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today” at No. 50. Montgomery Gentry’s “She Don’t Tell Me To” arrives at No. 55, trailed by newcomer Trent Tomlinson’s “Drunker Than Me” at No. 56. Bobby Pinson enters the chart at No. 58 with “Way Down.”

Evans’ debut atop the albums list pushes Wilson’s All Jacked Up to second place. Faith Hill’s Fireflies flutters upward three rungs to No. 3. Cagle’s arrival at No. 4 is followed by Rascal Flatts’ Feels Like Today, which falls two spaces to No. 5, and Cross Canadian Ragweed’s premiere at No. 6. Urban’s Be Here stays at No. 7, Trisha Yearwood’s Jasper County slides five levels to No. 8 and Sugarland’s Twice the Speed of Life loses a bit of momentum, slipping from No. 5 to No. 9. After debuting last week at No. 2, Wynonna’s Her Story: Scenes From a Lifetime drops to No. 10.

Little Big Town and Clint Black also debut new albums this week. LBT’s The Road to Here takes the fast lane to No. 17 while Black’s Drinkin’ Songs & Other Logic shows up at No. 36.

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.