Ho! Ho-hum. Christmas is in the air -- but not under the tree yet. In other words, the charts didn't exactly light up with new music this week. But there are glimpses of brighter days ahead.
Certainly, it's already holiday time for LANco. The band scores its first No. 1 single with "Greatest Love Story" and now sits atop Billboard's country airplay chart after an agonizingly slow 38-week climb. Tinsel for everybody!
Life's pretty good for Kenny Chesney, too. His Live in No Shoes Nation, returns to the winner's circle on Billboard's country albums ranking, where it debuted three weeks ago.
Rapper Upchurch has the week's highest-debuting album, King of Dixie, which bows in at No. 10. Also new to the charts are Tracy Lawrence's Good Ole Days (entering at No. 16) and Burl Ives' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (No. 50). As some of you more ancient types may recall, Ives was both a noted folksinger from the 1940s and '50s and an Academy Award-winning actor. He died in 1995.
Five albums return to the chart -- Taylor Swift's Fearless (No. 33) and Speak Now (No. 35), Elvis Presley's The Classic Christmas Album (No. 44), Midland's On the Rocks (No. 47) and Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's Once Upon a Christmas (No. 49).
The No. 2 through No. 5 albums, in that order, are Blake Shelton's Texoma Shore (last week's No. 1), Chris Stapleton's From A Room: Volume 1, the eponymous Kane Brown and Stapleton's Traveller (now in its 133rd week of chartdom).
Last week's No. 1 song -- Carly Pearce's "Every Little Thing" -- now resides at No. 9.
Finally, a tip of the hat to the great Mel Tillis, who died this week at the age of 85. The songs he wrote and the songs he recorded are the very backbone of modern country music, intelligent, intense, witty -- and insanely memorable. Look him up and listen. It will be time well spent.