Country music may have reached a cultural watershed when the first-week sales of an Alan Jackson album can't eclipse the 10th-week sales of a Lady Antebellum CD. But that's how it stands at the moment.
By Nielsen SoundScan's count, Lady A's current offering, Need You Now, keeps its uninterrupted hold at No. 1 on Billboard's country album chart this week by selling 86,616 copies, while Jackson's new Freight Train moves 72,411 units during the same period to debut at No. 2.
So far, Need You Now has sold more than 1.6 million copies, Taylor Swift's Fearless over 5.7 million, the Zac Brown Band's The Foundation over 1.7 million and Carrie Underwood's Play On over 1.4 million. These last three albums now rank at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
The Zac Brown Band's "Highway 20 Ride" moves up to become this week's No. 1 country song.
Blake Shelton claims the highest-charting new song as his "All About Tonight" rolls in at No. 45. Also making its initial appearance on the list of top songs is Rodney Atkins' "Farmer's Daughter," bowing at No. 51. Let it be noted that Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins co-wrote both of these new arrivals.
The week's other new albums are Gretchen Wilson's I Got Your Country Right Here (No. 6) and James Dupre's It's All Happening (No. 68).
Albums returning to the chart include Patty Loveless' Mountain Soul II (No. 67), the multi-artist Best of Country Gospel (No. 71), Bill Engvall's Aged and Confused (No. 74) and Robert Earl Keen's The Rose Hotel (No. 75).
Trailing "Highway 20 Ride" within the Top 5 songs are Lady Antebellum's "American Honey," Easton Corbin's "A Little More Country Than That," Underwood's "Temporary Home" (last week's No. 1) and Keith Urban's "'Til Summer Comes Around."
Got your tickets for the CMA Music Festival yet? Music Row needs the cash.