Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith Are at Chart Summit

New CDs From Faith Hill and Brooks & Dunn Fall Short of the Top

Six new albums enter the Billboard country albums chart this week, but none with enough sales to dislodge Rascal Flatts’ Still Feels Good. On the country singles chart, however, Toby Keith’s “Love Me If You Can” finally claims the summit after an 18-week climb, nudging out Brad Paisley’s “Online.”

The big surprise is that neither Faith Hill nor Brooks & Dunn, both of whom are usually chart powerhouses, moved enough albums to debut at No. 1. Hill’s Greatest Hits comes aboard at No. 3. Brooks & Dunn’s Cowboy Town opens at No. 4.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, the company that monitors retail CD purchases, Rascal Flatts sold 167,900 copies of Still Feels Good its third week out while Hill and Brooks & Dunn rang up first-week sales of 69,266 and 68,897, respectively, a virtual tie.

The remaining CD newcomers are: Cross Canadian Ragweed’s Mission California (No. 6); Songs 4 Worship, a multi-artist project (No. 33); Merle Haggard’s The Bluegrass Sessions (No. 43); and Hear Something Country: Christmas, another multi-artist project (No. 58).

Rounding out the Top 5 albums are Reba McEntire’s Reba Duets, holding at No. 2 for the second week, and Kenny Chesney’s Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates, sliding to No. 5 from No. 3.

On the singles chart, newcomer Ashton Shepherd racks up the highest-charting debut — “Takin’ Off This Pain” — which bows at No. 51. Trailing close behind are Lady Antebellum’s “Love Don’t Live Here” (No. 53), Brooks & Dunn’s “Cowboy Town” (No. 56), Lee Brice’s “Happy Endings” (No. 57), James Otto’s “Just Got Started Lovin’ You” (No. 58) and Gretchen Wilson’s “You Don’t Have to Go Home” (No. 60).

Chesney’s “Don’t Blink” hops from No. 5 to No. 2 on the singles chart, followed by Paisley’s “Online” (No. 3) and Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This” (No. 4). Rascal Flatts’ “Take Me There,” which drops to No. 5 from No. 2.

Garth Brooks’ record-smashing “More Than a Memory” continues to yo-yo. Last week it was No. 10, but it’s back up to No. 9 this week.

Anyone like another serving of minutiae?

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