What a week for Jason Michael Carroll, who now commands Billboard's country albums chart with his record-setting Waitin' in the Country. By moving 57,608 albums his first week out, Carroll becomes the bestselling new male country artist since Billy Ray Cyrus shook things up in 1992 with Some Gave All, the CD featuring "Achy Breaky Heart."
Waitin' in the Country also made a big splash on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, plowing in at No. 8. Fueling the album's momentum is the heart-wrenching lead single about child abuse, "Alyssa Lies."
In other chart news, George Strait finally nudges his way to the top of the country singles list, and the Dixie Chicks fly up several rungs on the albums roost as a result of their Grammy tsunami. After waiting its turn for four weeks, Strait's "It Just Comes Natural" replaces Rodney Atkins' "Watching You" at No. 1 on the singles chart. Meanwhile, the Dixie Chicks, buoyed by five major Grammy wins Sunday night (Feb. 11), see their latest album, Taking the Long Way, vault from No. 24 to No. 11.
Rounding out the Top 5 albums are Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts (No. 2), Rascal Flatts' Me and My Gang (No. 3), Rodney Atkins' If You're Going Through Hell (No. 4) and Keith Urban's Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing (No. 5). Last week's No. 1 album, the all-star Totally Country 6 compilation, drops to No. 6.
With Strait and Atkins in the top two positions on the singles chart, Trace Adkins' "Ladies Love Country Boys" is at No. 3, Urban's "Stupid Boy" at No. 4 and Brad Paisley's "She's Everything" at No. 5.
Rascal Flatts' "Stand" flexes its muscles and leapfrogs from No. 22 to No. 14. From a chart perspective, the most impressive new single is Big & Rich's "Lost in This Moment," which debuts at No. 41.
Other new singles charting this week include Taylor Swift's "Teardrops on My Guitar" (No. 46), Lonestar's "Nothing to Prove" (No. 56), the Randy Rogers Band's "One More Goodbye" (No. 59) and Little Texas' "Missing Years" (No. 60).
Among the upwardly mobile albums are J. C.: Johnny Cash, which scrambles from No. 43 to No. 33 its third week out, and Kenny Rogers, which ambles from No. 46 to No. 38. Clint Black's The Love Songs takes a Valentine's bump from No. 70 to No. 53, and the soundtrack to Flicka returns to the chart at No. 51.
Three repackages make modest debuts this week: John Denver's 16 Biggest Hits (bowing in No. 61), Charlie Daniels' 16 Biggest Hits (No. 70) and Clint Black's -- you guessed it -- 16 Biggest Hits (No. 72).
OK. Now take a moment to catch your breath.