Tim McGraw Booms in With No. 1 Country Album, Southern Voice

Zac Brown Band's "Toes" Is the Week's Top Song

Tim McGraw’s Southern Voice enters Billboard’s country albums chart this week at a resounding No. 1, propelled to that prominence, says Nielsen SoundScan, by first week sales of 137,000 copies.

And after an 18-week climb, “Toes,” the Zac Brown Band’s single, digs in as country music’s No. 1 song.

There are three other new albums to report — Lyle Lovett’s Natural Forces (debuting at No. 8), Bomshel’s Fight Like a Girl (No. 24) and Brantley Gilbert’s A Modern Day Prodigal Son (No. 74).

Terri Clark’s CD, Long Way Home, re-enters the chart at No. 44.

This week’s two new charted songs are Uncle Kracker’s “Smile” (No. 57) and Jack Ingram and Patty Griffin’s “Seeing Stars” (No. 60).

McGraw’s arrival pushes Taylor Swift’s Fearless back into the No. 2 spot, a nice irony when you consider Swift got her start with a song called “Tim McGraw.” (The six-degrees-of-separation phenomenon does not apply to Nashville. Here, it’s never more than three degrees.)

Rounding out this week’s Top 5 albums are the Zac Brown Band’s The Foundation (which now boasts total sales of more than 1.1 million copies), Toby Keith’s American Ride and Miranda Lambert’s Revolution — in that order.

The No. 2 through No. 5 songs are Brad Paisley’s “Welcome to the Future,” Keith Urban’s “Only You Can Love Me This Way” (last week’s No. 1), Chris Young’s “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” and Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova.”

Another stellar Christmas album has arrived at our door, albeit not yet on the charts. It’s John Cowan’s Comfort and Joy, a collection of eight standards and four newer pieces. Cowan is the former lead vocalist of New Grass Revival and is assisted here by the voices of Bonnie and Bekka Bramlett. Their blended sound creates wonderful winter chills of a different sort.

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