Two somewhat unexpected names turned up in the country Top 10 this week with the arrival of Van Morrison's first country album and Norah Jones' side project with her country band, the Little Willies.
Meanwhile, Carrie Underwood returns to the top of Billboard's country albums chart, and Kenny Chesney spends a second week at No. 1 on the trade publication's country singles listing.
Underwood's Some Hearts moves back to a familiar perch after Alan Jackson's gospel project, Precious Memories, knocked her out of the No. 1 spot last week. The Legend of Johnny Cash hangs in at No. 2, followed by the Walk the Line soundtrack at No. 3. After debuting at No. 1, Jackson slips to No. 4. Holding steady in fifth and sixth place, respectively, are Josh Turner's Your Man and Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today.
Morrison, who last week performed in Nashville during his very first visit to the city, debuts at No. 7 with Pay the Devil, a project filled with steel guitars, fiddles and a variety of classic country songs. Keith Urban's Be Here stays at No. 8, Trace Adkins' Songs About Me falls two notches to No. 9 and The Little Willies debuts at No. 10.
Other albums debuting on the country chart include newcomer Trent Tomlinson's debut, Country Is My Rock, at No. 20 and Country Music Hall of Fame member Kris Kristofferson's This Old Road at No. 36.
On the country singles side, Chesney clings to the top position with "Living in Fast Forward." Showing substantial strength, Urban ascends two levels to second place with "Tonight I Wanna Cry." Rascal Flatts' "What Hurts the Most" remains at No. 3, Turner's "Your Man" falls two spaces to No. 4 and Montgomery Gentry's "She Don't Tell Me To" climbs one notch to No. 5.
"Who Says You Can't Go Home," Bon Jovi's duet with Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles, moves up two spaces to No. 6. Dropping two rungs to No. 7 is "When I Get Where I'm Going," Brad Paisley's recent No. 1 with Dolly Parton. Blake Shelton climbs to No. 8 with "Nobody but Me," and Underwood first No. 1 single, "Jesus, Take the Wheel," slides to No. 9. Toby Keith is still holding the bar at No. 10 with "Get Drunk and Be Somebody."
Sugarland's "Down in Mississippi (Up to No Good)" enters the chart at No. 43 as the week's highest-debuting single. The Lost Trailers, an Atlanta-based quintet, debuts at No. 53 with their first BNA Records single, "Chicken Fried."
The Dixie Chicks roost at No. 54 with "Not Ready to Make Nice," the first single from their upcoming album, Taking the Long Way. No doubt, country radio programmers are gauging listeners' reaction to determine how much to support the track. It will take several weeks to tell if the Chicks still have a home at country radio, but the initial airplay is an encouraging sign.
Singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe lands at No. 57 with her first Columbia Records single, "Satisfied."