Lord a’mighty! The No. 1 country album this week is a collection of gospel and inspirational tunes, Reba McEntire’s Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope.
It rides in on first-week sales of 52,039 units, according to Nielsen Soundscan. That number was also sufficient to debut it at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 all-formats chart.
Reba’s last No. 1 album was Love Somebody, which made its chart bow in 2015. Unless it’s escaped her discographer’s notice, this is Reba’s first gospel collection, although she’s certainly included such spiritually-infused songs in earlier recordings.
We count two new songs — Keith Urban’s “The Fighter,” featuring Carrie Underwood, punching its way in at No. 44, and Adam Craig’s “Just a Phase” (No. 60). Casey Donahew’s “Kiss Me” is back on at No. 56.
Rounding out the Top 5 albums, in descending order, are Brantley Gilbert’s The Devil Don’t Sleep (last week’s No. 1), Chris Stapleton’s Traveller, Keith Urban’s Ripcord and Garth Brooks’ The Ultimate Collection.
The No. 2 through No. 5 songs are Little Big Town’s ““Better Man,” Chris Young’s “Sober Saturday Night,” featuring Vince Gill, Thomas Rhett’s “Star of the Show” (last week’s No. 1) and Blake Shelton’s “A Guy With a Girl.”
We could not but notice that there’s a string of songs “featuring” vocals by a second artist in this week’s airplay charts — in addition to the Urban/Underwood and Young/Gill pairings mentioned above. They are Eric Church’s “Kill a Word” with Rhiannon Giddens, Florida Georgia Line’s “God, Your Mama and Me” with the Backstreet Boys, and Drew Baldridge’s “Rebound” with Emily Weisband.
Now you know. Use this wisdom wisely.