Independent labels are clearly making substantial progress in Nashville, heading off the majors at the top of both the Billboard country albums and singles charts this week.
After a six-month journey, Emerson Drive's "Moments" has finally parked at the peak of the singles chart. It's the first No. 1 single for the band -- as well as the first for their new label, Midas Records, an independent company that launched in 2005. Emerson Drive's first two singles, 2001's "I Should Be Sleeping" and 2002's "Fall Into Me," both reached the Top 5, but the band parted ways with the DreamWorks label a few years later following a corporate merger.
Brad Paisley's "Ticks" crawls up a notch to No. 2, just ahead of Billy Currington's "Good Directions" at No. 3. Tracy Lawrence's "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" holds on at No. 4, with Alan Jackson's "A Woman's Love" at No. 5 and Montgomery Gentry's "Lucky Man" at No. 6. Toby Keith's "High Maintenance Woman" falls to No. 7. George Strait's "Wrapped" and Big & Rich's "Lost in This Moment" maintain their positions at No. 8 and No. 9, respectively. Keith Urban's "I Told You So" closes the Top 10.
Meanwhile on the country albums chart, Jason Aldean's Relentless debuts at No. 1, selling more than 98,000 units for Broken Bow Records, an independent label that opened in 1999. He's trailed by Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts at No. 2, Taylor Swift at No. 3, Tim McGraw's Let It Go at No. 4 and Gretchen Wilson's One of the Boys at No. 5. The latest albums from Rascal Flatts, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert and Bucky Covington round out the Top 10.
Country music's independent streak goes further down the chart, too, with a number of artists on small labels making an appearance. Lawrence's For the Love (Rocky Comfort) jumps six spaces to No. 14. Aldean's self-titled debut album, released in 2005 and now certified platinum, also rises six notches to No 18. Little Big Town's The Road to Here (Equity) bumps up one space to No. 22. Emerson Drive's Countrified lands at No. 31. Jack Ingram's This Is It (Big Machine) comes in at No. 50. Sales for Mary Chapin Carpenter's The Calling (Rounder/Zoë Records) increased 75 percent, moving her to No. 54. Elizabeth Cook's Balls (31 Tigers) enters the chart at No. 72.