Had it not been for the simultaneous arrival of a superstar's new release, a "6-foot-5, 260-pound, black rappin' cowboy from Dallas, Texas" would claim the No. 1 spot on Billboard's country albums chart.
The phrase quoted above is how John Rich of Big & Rich often introduces Cowboy Troy, a newcomer who just sold 51,000 copies of his debut album, Loco Motive, during the first week of release. Granted, the week's top country album sold almost six times that amount, but is anybody truly taken aback when a Toby Keith album debuts at No. 1? He's done it again, of course, with Honkytonk University.
Although Cowboy Troy's "I Play Chicken With the Train" remains one of CMT's most popular videos, the single did not fare nearly as well at country radio. A flurry of national media coverage and a high visibility with Big & Rich in the MuzikMafia were instrumental in boosting his initial sales. And there's no doubt the rest of the music industry will be watching closely to see if Cowboy Troy can sustain five-digit sales in the coming weeks.
Keith's continued clout is obvious on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart where Honkytonk University debuts in second place, just behind System of a Down's just-released Mesmerize. Cowboy Troy enters the Billboard 200 at No. 15.
With Keith and Cowboy Troy topping the country albums list, Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today and Keith Urban's Be Here hold steady in third and fourth place, respectively. After debuting at No. 1 last week, Dierks Bentley's Modern Day Drifter slips to No. 5. Climbing one rung each to No. 6 and 7 are Sugarland's Twice the Speed of Life and Gretchen Wilson's Here for the Party. Larry the Cable Guy's The Right to Bare Arms slides two spaces to No. 8, Jo Dee Messina's Delicious Surprise falls four slots to No. 9 and Van Zant's Get Right With the Man moves to No. 10 after debuting last week at No. 2.
Other country albums making their chart debuts this week include newcomer Bobby Pinson's Man Like Me at No. 23 and Waylon Jennings' 16 Biggest Hits at No. 65.
On Billboard's country singles chart, Capitol Records gladly claim the top three spots as Urban's "Making Memories of Us" spends a second week at No. 1, Trace Adkins' "Songs About Me" jumps four spaces to No. 2 and Bentley's "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do" climbs two rungs to No. 3. Wilson's "Homewrecker" dips to No. 4, Rascal Flatts' "Fast Cars and Freedom" accelerates to No. 5 and Joe Nichols' "What's a Guy Gotta Do" moves down to No. 6. Messina's "My Give a Damn's Busted" loses altitude by falling to No. 7, George Strait's "You'll Be There" rises to No. 8 and Craig Morgan's "That's What I Love About Sunday" is still hanging on at No. 9 after spending several weeks at No. 1 and remaining on the chart for 31 weeks. Sugarland's "Something More" climbs four slots to round out the Top 10.
Brooks & Dunn land at No. 37 with the week's highest-debuting single, "Play Something Country." Other singles debuting include Steve Azar's "Doin' It Right" at No. 58 and Little Big Town's "Boondocks" at No. 59.