Martina McBride Tops Chart With Classic Country

Billy Currington and Tracy Lawrence Also Debut New Albums in Top 10

Classic country still sells, at least if the right person is singing it. Martina McBride proved the point after her new album, Timeless, sold 185,000 albums in its first week of release to debut at the top of Billboard‘s country albums chart. On the all-genre Billboard 200, McBride debuts at No. 3 — just behind new albums by Ashlee Simpson and Rod Stewart.

Timeless features 18 songs made famous by Buck Owens, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Connie Smith, Merle Haggard, Ernest Tubb and others.

“This is a dream project for me — a real labor of love,” McBride says. “So it means so much to have it debut at No. 1. What is exciting to me is that there are many, many people this week who are hearing these great classic country songs.”

Billy Currington had a strong first week on the charts, too. His second project, Doin’ Somethin’ Right, racked up sales of 54,000 copies to debut at No. 2 on the country albums chart. He enters the Billboard 200 at a very respectable No. 11.

McBride and Currington created a wave that knocked Gary Allan’s Tough All Over and Gretchen Wilson’s All Jacked Up down two slots to third and fourth place, respectively. Faith Hill’s Fireflies and Rascal Flatts’ Feels Like Today fall one rung to land at fifth and sixth place, respectively. In the third week of release, Sara Evans’ Real Fine Place falls from No. 3 to No. 7. Tracy Lawrence’s Then & Now: The Hits Collection debuts at No. 8, followed by Keith Urban’s Be Here at No. 9 and Trisha Yearwood’s Jasper County at No. 10.

A new compilation, The Essential David Allan Coe, is the only other new country album to debut this week. The man once known as the Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy arrives at No. 74.

On Billboard‘s country singles chart, Keith Urban clings to the top spot for a third consecutive week with “Better Life.” Rocketing upward four spaces each, Rascal Flatts’ “Skin (Sarabeth)” moves to No. 2, followed by LeAnn Rimes’ “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way” jumps to No. 3 and Kenny Chesney’s “Who You’d Be Today” goes to No. 4. Sinking three levels each are Craig Morgan’s “Redneck Yacht Club” (anchoring at No. 5), Jamie O’Neal’s “Somebody’s Hero” (No. 6) and Montgomery Gentry’s “Something to Be Proud Of” (No. 7). Dierks Bentley’s “Come a Little Closer” climbs to No. 8, Joe Nichols’ “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” ascends to No. 9 and Josh Gracin’s “Stay With Me (Brass Bed)” falls to No. 10.

American Idol winner Carrie Underwood has the highest-debuting country single of the week. Her debut offering, “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” arrives at No. 39. Another newcomer, Rockie Lynne, debuts at No. 49 with his first single, “Lipstick.” Sara Evans enters the chart at No. 56 with “Cheatin’” while Shannon Brown returns with some MuzikMafia credentials to debut at No. 59 with “Corn Fed,” a song she co-wrote with Vicky McGehee and Big & Rich’s John Rich.

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.