Remember when "Kenny" meant Kenny Rogers? Well, our Mr. Chesney has long since usurped that throne. And this week he shows why again as his Live: Live Those Songs Again debuts at No. 1 on Billboard's country albums chart. Earlier this week, his label threw a party to celebrate his sale of more than 25 million albums.
(Chesney's new album made it only to the No. 4 niche on the all-genre Billboard 200 listing, however, with new collections from Clay Aiken and Fergie vaulting into No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, and Justin Timberlake still commanding the summit.)
George Strait's "Give It Away" keeps its country singles chart supremacy for the second week in a lineup that looks a lot like the last roundup. Only two new singles entered the fray and, in addition to Chesney's, just two new albums.
The other album arrivistes are Emerson Drive's Countrified, which pops up at No. 35, and Carolina Rain's Weather the Storm, moving in at No. 59. Of the albums already charted, Johnny Cash's Country Legends shows the most momentum, striding up 15 paces to the No. 44 spot in just its third week out.
Following Chesney's new CD in the Top 5 in descending order are Rascal Flatts' Me and My Gang, Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts, Josh Turner's Your Man and Trace Adkins' Dangerous Man. The Randy Rogers Band's Just a Matter of Time, last week's highest country charter, falls from No. 8 to No. 30.
Returning to the chart are Jerry Clower's Classic Clower Power (No. 67), Hank Williams III's Straight to Hell (No. 68), Toby Keith's Honkytonk University (No. 74) and Randy Travis' Glory Train: Songs of Faith, Worship And Praise (No. 75).
There's a bit of activity among the Top 5 singles. Although Josh Turner's "Would You Go With Me" continues to hang in at No. 2, Heartland's "I Loved Her First" climbs from No. 6 to No. 3 and Dierks Bentley's "Every Mile a Memory" leaps from No. 9 to No. 5. Brooks & Dunn's "Building Bridges" (with Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill) spends its second week at No. 4.
The fledgling singles are Jason Michael Carroll's "Alyssa Lies," coming in at No. 58, and Lindsey Haun's "Broken," from the Broken Bridges soundtrack, surfacing at No. 60.
It's encouraging to note that "old Kenny" -- Kenny Rogers -- still has plenty of chart muscle. His 21 Number Ones, which currently ranks No. 36, has been on the charts for 35 weeks, and his Water & Bridges, now at No. 50, is in its 27th week there. Rogers first hit the country charts in 1969, just a year after Chesney was born. So "young Kenny" still has some thrones to topple.