Trace Adkins and Keith Urban Flex Their Muscles

Rodney Atkins Holds Top Spot on Country Singles Chart for Fourth Straight Week

Trace Adkins casts an unusually long shadow this week with his new album, Dangerous Man. Boasting first-week sales of 114,706, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the CD seizes the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s country albums chart and the No. 3 niche on the all-formats Billboard 200 listing.

Meanwhile, back on the singles chart, Rodney Atkins’ “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)” keeps its death grip on the summit for the fourth straight week.

The charts are clearly in the summer doldrums. Adkins’ album is the only new one this week, and there are but three singles making their debut. The most eye-popping of these is Keith Urban’s “Once in a Lifetime,” which tips its hat at a stratospheric No. 17 as the highest-debuting country single in the history of Billboard’s charts.

Once you get past Adkins, most of the albums are about as mobile as front-row fans at a rock concert. Rascal Flatts’ Me and My Gang moves from No. 1 to No. 2. Josh Turner’s Your Man holds at No. 3 for a second week. Tim McGraw’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 edges back from No. 6 to No. 4. Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts continues to mark time at No. 5.

Steve Holy’s Brand New Girlfriend slips from its No. 2 debut slot last week to No. 7, as its sales decline from 36,921 copies to 21,296. Martina McBride’s Timeless, now 44 weeks on the chart, is living up to its name. This former No. 1 collection bounces from No. 67 to No. 51.

Re-entering the charts are John Denver’s Definitive All-Time Greatest Hits, back on at No. 67, and Alison Krauss & Union Station’s Lonely Runs Both Ways , which returns at No. 73.

The singles landscape is similarly placid, with the Wreckers’ “Leave the Pieces” staying at No. 2 and Holy’s “Brand New Girlfriend” once again at No. 3. Little Big Town’s “Bring It on Home” steps from No. 5 to No. 4, and George Strait’s “Give It Away” ambles from No. 8 to No. 5.

In addition to Urban’s single, the others testing the waters this week are Eric Church’s lyrical pregnancy test, “Two Pink Lines,” sneaking in at No. 52, and Sara Evans’ “You’ll Always Be My Baby” gurgling at No. 54.

What with Trace’s triumph and Keith’s clincher, you can bet they’re hoisting drinks over at Capitol Records. Save one for me. I’ve gotta wake up soon.

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