For the first time in five years, country albums occupy the top three spots on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, in the week immediately following the 49th Annual CMA Awards.
Virtually unknown outside of Nashville before winning three trophies and staging a much-talked-about performance with Justin Timberlake on the show, singer/songwriter Chris Stapleton re-enters the ranking at number one, a feat never before accomplished: his album Traveller made its initial appearance after its release in May. Carrie Underwood’s Storyteller comes in second, while Eric Church’s surprise reveal during the broadcast, Mr. Misunderstood, makes it debut at number three.
Vocal Group winner Little Big Town rockets from number 125 to 37 on the strength of their performance of Single and Song winner “Girl Crush.” Presenters Pentatonix and Steve Martin & Edie Brickell saw sizeable gains for their projects as well.
The last time country music was this hot on the all-format album chart was November 2010, when Taylor Swift ruled at number one with Speak Now, followed by Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party and Sugarland’s The Incredible Machine at two and three.
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