Eagles Hold Garth Brooks at Bay on the Charts

Dierks Bentley Seizes Song Peak with "Free and Easy"

Garth Brooks’ The Ultimate Hits failed this week to dislodge the Eagles’ Long Road Out of Eden from the top of Billboard’s country albums chart. Instead, the record-setting Oklahoman had to settle for the No. 2 spot, as the Eagles outsold him 359,000 to 352,000 copies.

Counting the 711,000 units the country rockers sold for last week’s debut, they’re already well past platinum — not bad for an act that made its first chart appearance 35 years ago when Garth was 10 years old.

Over on the songs list, Dierks Bentley finally slugs his way to No. 1 with “Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go).” In the process, he nudges Kenny Chesney’s five-week chart topper, “Don’t Blink,” back to No. 2.

Also entering the albums chart are Little Big Town’s A Place to Land (No. 10), Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers’ Gram Parsons Archive Volume One: Live at the Avalon Ballroom 1969 (No. 45) and Diamond Rio’s A Diamond Rio Christmas: The Star Still Shines (No. 72).

Last week’s CMA Awards show seems to have had some effect on the rankings. George Strait’s It Just Comes Natural, which won the album of the year prize, bounds from No. 32 to No. 20 as Keith Urban’s Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing springs from No. 33 to No. 21 and Kellie Pickler’s Small Town Girl vaults from No. 56 to No. 31. All three singers performed on the highly-rated special.

Sugarland’s “Stay,” which the show also spotlighted, takes a healthy leap from No. 18 to No. 13.

Returning to the album lineup are Emerson Drive’s Countrified (No. 69), Vince Gill’s These Days (No. 71) and Kenny Rogers’ 21 Number Ones (No. 75).

Alan Jackson has the highest-charting new song, “Small Town Southern Man,” which pops in at No. 42. Running a few paces behind are Jack Ingram’s “Maybe She’ll Get Lonely” (No. 50), Halfway to Hazard’s “Devil and the Cross” (No. 51) and Cole Deggs & the Lonesome’s “Girl Next Door” (No. 58). Luke Bryan’s “We Rode in Trucks” re-enters at No. 53.

Rounding out the Top 5 albums are Carrie Underwood’s Carnival Ride (No. 3), Taylor Swift’s self-titled CD (No. 4) and Reba McEntire’s Reba Duets (No. 5).

Following Bentley and Chesney, in descending order, within the Top 5 songs are Underwood’s “So Small,” Brooks’ “More Than a Memory” and Josh Turner’s “Firecracker.”

And that’s the news from the provinces. Stay centered, y’all.

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