Country Music Charts Begin to Bubble

With Chris Stapleton and Thomas Rhett Still on Top, Hank Williams Jr., Dierks Bentley Have Highest Album, Song Debuts

Finally, we have some country charts everyone can cheer about.

To be sure, Chris Stapleton’s Traveller and Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man” remain the No. 1 country album and song, as they have since the year began. But there are plenty of new titles to report in both categories.

Hank Williams Jr., who pretty much dominated the country albums charts in the early 1980s, roars back to capture the No. 2 spot there with the aptly titled It’s About Time.

By Nielsen SoundScan’s count, Williams sold 24,348 copies this past week. By comparison, Traveller moved 32,354 units the same period. Its total sales to date now stands at 776,218.

Two other new albums debut within the Top 5: Brothers Osborne’s Pawn Shop at No. 3 and the Randy Rogers Band’s Nothing Shines Like Neon at No. 5.

But, wait, there’s more! Four more new albums, to be exact. They are Frank Foster’s Boots on the Ground (No. 7), Russell Dickerson’s Yours EP (No. 14), Upchurch’s Heart of America (No. 30) and T. Graham Brown’s Forever Changed (No. 37).

Brown first entered the charts in 1985 with “Drowning in Memories” and went on to rack up three No. 1 singles — “Hell and High Water,” “Don’t Go to Strangers” and “Darlene.”

Two albums have made a chart comeback: Jimmy Fortune’s Hits & Hymns (No. 27) and the Josh Abbott Band’s Front Row Seat (No. 44).

We spy four new songs: Dierks Bentley’s “Somewhere on a Beach” (entering at No. 29), Trace Adkins’ “Jesus and Jones” (No. 54), Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” (No. 57) and Justin Timberlake’s “Drink You Away.”

Yes, Justin Timberlake, who performed the song with Stapleton at November’s CMA Awards show.

Since we’ve already revealed four of the week’s Top 5 albums, let’s complete the list by citing No. 4. It’s Blake Shelton’s Reloaded: 20 #1 Hits.

The No. 2 through No. 5 songs, in that order, are >Brothers Osborne’s “Stay a Little Longer,” Luke Bryan’s “Home Alone Tonight” featuring Karen Fairchild, Sam Hunt’s “Break Up in a Small Town” and LoCash’s “I Love This Life.”

OK. Who’s buying the first round?

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