Sam Hunt Scores Top Album, Song With Montevallo, “Leave the Night On”

Three New Christmas CDs Sleigh Ride Onto the Chart

In one profile-heightening sweep, singer-songwriter Sam Hunt moves in to claim both the week’s best-selling country album — Montevallo — and most-played country song — “Leave the Night On.”

By Nielsen SoundScan’s count, Montevallo sold 69,849 copies its first week out, an achievement that was sufficient to earn it a No. 3 ranking on the Billboard 200 all-genre chart.

Hunt has told interviewers the album’s title refers to the Alabama hometown of a woman he once had a relationship with.

“Leave the Night On” ascends to No. 1 after a 21-week climb.

It’s probably worth noting that Taylor Swift, a singer-songwriter who should still be familiar to country fans, debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 with her latest album, 1989. Given the pop nature of the project, it’s not included on the trade publication’s country chart despite selling 1.2 million copies. It’s the only album released this year to reach the 1-million milestone.

There are 10 other new albums, a virtual sonic storm that includes the year’s first three charting Christmas albums: Darius Rucker’s Home for the Holidays (No. 7), Home Free’s Full of Cheer (No. 14) and LeAnn RimesOne Christmas: Chapter 1 EP (No. 47).

Rucker’s album features a duet with Sheryl Crow of Frank Loesser’s seasonally suggestive masterpiece, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Used in the 1949 movie Neptune’s Daughter, it won an Academy Award for best original song.

The others first-timers are Wade Bowen’s Wade Bowen (No. 9), Stoney LaRue’s Aviator (No. 17), the LacsNothing in Particular (No. 20), Rodney Carrington’s Laughter’s Good (No. 23).

Also, Jerry Lee LewisRock & Roll Time (No. 27), Joey & Rory’s Country Classics: A Tapestry of Our Musical Heritage (No. 33) and Brian Davis’ All About That Life EP (No. 45).

There are but two new songs: the Swon Brothers’ “Pray for You” (No. 59) and Will Hoge’s “Middle of America” (No. 60).

Rounding out the Top 5 albums array, in descending order, are Jason Aldean’s Old Boots, New Dirt, Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes (last week’s No. 1), Little Big Town’s Pain Killer and Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party.

The No. 2 through No. 5 songs are Blake Shelton’s “Neon Light,” Frankie Ballard ’s “Sunshine & Whiskey,” Little Big Town’s “Day Drinking” and Aldean’s “Burnin’ It Down” (last week’s No. 1).

So what was your favorite CMA Awards show moment?

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