Brad Paisley and Big & Rich Refuse to Budge on Charts

Jo Dee Messina Song and Tracy Lawrence Collection Make Their Debut

Ah, the suspense, the challenge … the very real prospect of plunging into oblivion. I’m not talking about the fate of the titles on this week’s Billboard country charts but rather the unimaginable difficulty I confront in turning the perfectly adequate phrase “nothing’s happening” into a full-length news story. Watch me as I work.

Brad Paisley’s 5th Gear spends its fourth consecutive week atop the album chart while Big & Rich’s “Lost in This Moment” is in its second week of supremacy on the list of singles. It’s not my place to say if this imperious immobility constitutes a swinish disregard for the strivings of those farther down the charts, but the evidence is damning.

Only one song has bludgeoned its way into Billboard’s gated community. It’s Jo Dee Messina’s “Biker Chick,” a swatch of fantasizing that checks in at No. 59.

There are three new albums: The Very Best of Tracy Lawrence (entering at No. 29), Cole Deggs & the Lonesome (No. 42) and Jason Meadow’s 100% Cowboy (59). Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby returns to the chart at No. 63.

Tracy Lawrence is developing into one of the summer’s rare success stories. His independent album, For the Love, is logged in at No. 15 this week and has so far sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, 183,000 copies. The new album sold nearly 5,000 units its first week out. While these amounts are minuscule compared to what Lawrence used to move during the country boom of the ’90s, they’re pretty substantial for these hard times in the music biz.

Within the Top 5 albums, all the names stay the same, although there was some slight shifting. Taylor Swift’s self-titled CD advances from No. 3 to No. 2, swapping slots with Toby Keith’s Big Dog Daddy. Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts and Big & Rich’s Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace hold steady at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

Lining up in descending order behind Big & Rich in the Top 5 singles ranking are Kenny Chesney’s “Never Wanted Nothing More,” Keith Urban’s “I Told You So,” George Strait’s “Wrapped” and Swift’s “Teardrops on My Guitar.”

Gretchen Wilson’s “One of the Boys” has encountered bad weather. After 12 weeks on the chart, the song has gradually slipped from its high point at No. 35 to its current niche at No. 52.

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