McBride and Urban Still Hold the Top

Montgomery Gentry and Chesney Applying Pressure

Will someone please tell Martina McBride and Keith Urban they’re holding up the line? McBride’s Timeless has relaxed at No. 1 on Billboard’s top country album chart for three weeks, while Urban’s “Better Life” has topped the singles listing for five. It’s like watching The Man Who Came to Dinner.

But McBride has a real heavyweight breathing down her neck. Montgomery Gentry’s Something to Be Proud Of: The Best of 1999-2005 barreled out of nowhere into the No. 2 spot with fearsome momentum. Likewise, Urban has Kenny Chesney nipping at his heels.

Rascal Flatts’ Feels Like Today, a former No. 1 album, showed some renewed energy by creeping back from No. 4 to No. 3. Terri Clark makes her newest debut on the chart at No. 4 via Life Goes On. The Legend of Johnny Cash collection skids from No. 3 to No. 5. Last week’s big news, Joe Nichols’ III, retreats from its No. 2 debut niche to No. 6.

Rounding out the Top 10 albums are Gretchen Wilson’s All Jacked Up (down from No. 5 to No. 7), Faith Hill’s Fireflies (down from No. 6 to No. 8), Billy Currington’s Doin’ Somethin’ Right (down from No. 8 to No. 9) and Gary Allan’s Tough All Over (down from No. 7 to No. 10).

Showing some real muscle are Toby Keith’s Greatest Hits 2, which resurges from No. 25 to No. 18 and Reba McEntire’s Room to Breathe, vaulting from No. 62 to No. 53. Chesney’s new album, The Road and the Radio, makes a modest splash with its No. 58 debut.

This week’s re-entries are Rodney Carrington’s Greatest Hits, which comes back on at No. 72, and Hot Apple Pie’s self-titled package, which resurfaces at No. 73.

On the singles side, Chesney’s “Who You’d Be Today” hovers just behind Urban at No. 2. Dierks Bentley’s “Come a Little Closer” oozes from No. 4 to No. 3. Rascal Flatts’ “Skin (Sarabeth)” trips from No. 2 to No. 4. And Nichols’ “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” skips from No. 6 to No. 5.

Others in the Top 10 are Garth Brooks’ “Good Ride Cowboy,” up from No. 7 to No. 6 (after only five weeks on the chart); LeAnn Rimes’ “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way,” down from No. 5 to No. 7; Lonestar’s “You’re Like Comin’ Home,” glued to the No. 8 spot for the second week; Allan’s “The Best I Ever Had,” up from No. 11 to No. 9; and Keith’s “Big Blue Note,” stuck at No. 10 (its high point to date) for the second week.

Hill’s “Like We Never Loved at All” may have peaked as it drops from its top rung at No. 15 to No. 16.

Still coming on steadily are Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” (No. 20 to No. 18); Chris Cagle’s “Miss Me Baby” (No. 21 to No. 20); Montgomery Gentry’s “She Don’t Tell Me To” (No. 35 to No. 30); Sara Evans’ “Cheatin'” (from No. 46 to No. 41 in its third week on the charts); and newcomer Rockie Lynne’s “Lipstick” (from No. 49 to No. 46).

It looks bleak, however, for Shania Twain’s “Shoes.” That catchy single topped out at No. 29 but has now dropped to No. 39. Luke Stricklin gets the tenacity award for keeping his “American by God’s Amazing Grace” on the charts for 14 weeks without ever exerting a strong upward movement. He’s clinging at No. 51 for the second week.

Chesney logs in with Billboard’s Hot Shot Debut winner, “Living in Fast Forward,” which makes its bow at No. 54. Others enjoying their chart debut this week are Trisha Yearwood’s “Trying to Love You” (No. 58) and Chesney’s “The Road and the Radio” and “Beer in Mexico” (at No. 59 and 60, respectively).

Will the volcanoes blow and topple McBride and Urban? Will Stricklin survive another week? Stay tuned.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to