Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits because Alan Jackson’s Precious Memories — a collection of Southern-style hymns — arrives at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart, selling more than 107,000 copies in its first week. Jackson recorded the songs as a gift to his mother and mother-in-law, but his record label persuaded him to release it nationally. And it was good. Amen.
With Oscar’s eyes on Walk the Line, The Legend of Johnny Cash jumps to No. 2 with a sales boost of 88 percent. Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts, at No. 3, also increased in sales due in part to singing on American Idol last week. The Walk the Line soundtrack leaps from No. 11 to No. 4 as Josh Turner’s Your Man hangs tough at No. 5. Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins, the latest compilation in the Totally Country series, Kenny Chesney and Sugarland round out the Top 10.
Outside of the Top 10, Hank Williams III’s country-punk combo Straight to Hell arrives at No. 17 and Shannon Brown’s Corn Fed crops up at No. 34. Jessi Colter’s first album in two decades, Out of the Ashes, smokes a No. 61 entry, just ahead of Ray Stevens’ Box Set at No. 62.
Meanwhile, Chesney and David Lee Murphy can go out looking for the party crowd as “Living in Fast Forward” becomes Chesney’s ninth No. 1 single on Billboard’s country airplay chart. Murphy — whose own single “Dust on the Bottle” reached No. 1 a little over 10 years ago — co-wrote the song with Rivers Rutherford.
Turner’s “Your Man” slips to No. 2, trailed by Rascal Flatt’s “What Hurts the Most” at No. 3 and Keith Urban’s “Tonight I Wanna Cry” at No. 4. Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton’s “When I Get Where I’m Going”, Montgomery Gentry’s “She Don’t Tell Me To” and Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” land in fifth, sixth and seventh place, respectively.
And here’s something you thought you’d never read: Bon Jovi have their first Top 10 country hit with “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” a duet with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, at No. 8. (With Jesus taking the wheel, Paisley’s reflections about heaven and Jackson resurrecting the church hymnal, can a country remake of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” be far behind?) Blake Shelton’s “Nobody but Me” and Toby Keith’s “Get Drunk and Be Somebody” round out the Top 10.
New singles include Tim McGraw’s “When the Stars Go Blue” at No. 35, teenager Megan Mullins’ “Ain’t What It Used to Be” at No. 52, another McGraw single “I’ve Got Friends That Do” at No. 56 and Danielle Peck’s “Findin’ a Good Man” at No. 58.