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Rhett, Stapleton spend another week at the top

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 – The domination of Chris Stapleton and Thomas Rhett on the Billboard country charts continued for another week. Rhett's "Die a Happy Man' led the Hot Country Songs chart for the week ending Feb. 20, while Stapleton's "Traveller" was first on the Top Country Albums chart.

Sam Hunt was second on the songs chart with "Break Up in a Small Town," one ahead of Luke Bryan's "Home Alone Tonight," featuring Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town. Granger Smith was fifth with "Backroad Song." Cole Swindell held fifth with "You Should Be Here."

Maren Morris' "My Church" went from 17 to 13. Old Dominion also moved 4 places, to 17, with "Snapback." Lee Brice's "That Don't Sound Like You" was at 19, up 4, one ahead of Chase Bryant's "Little Bit of You," also up 4.

Hunt was second on the albums chart with "Montevallo." Blake Shelton remained third with "Reloaded: 20 #1 Hits." Hank Williams Jr.'s "It's About Time" was fourth, one ahead of Carrie Underwood's "Storyteller."

Florida Georgia Line was up 5 to 15 with "Anything Goes." Zac Brown Band also moved up 5, to 16, with "Jekyll + Hyde." Brantley Gilbert's "Just As I Am" was 18th, up 5. The Swon Brothers debuted with their "Timeless" EP at 19. Kane Brown's "Closer" EP was 22nd this week, after being off the chart. Aubrie Sellers debuted at 23 with her indie disc, "New City Blues."

Sierra Hull topped the Bluegrass Albums chart with "Weighted Mind" in its debut week. Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn were second with their self-titled disc. Steve Martin and Edie Brickell fell from first to third with "So Familiar." A compilation, "Appalachian Bluegrass Collection: Power Picks 80 Classics" was fourth. Punch Brothers were fifth with "The Phosphorescent Blues."

On the overall top 200, "Traveller" was 8th, Hunt 26th, Rhett 33rd, Shelton 46th and Bryan 48th. The country and top 200 charts use different criteria.

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CD reviews

From A Room: Volume 2 CD review - From A Room: Volume 2
There is no bigger artist in country music today, perhaps even in American music, than Chris Stapleton. His appeal reaches beyond just the commercial country fans for his gritty bluesy approach. 2015's "Traveller" set a high bar, which was met by this year's release of "From A Room: Volume 1," which won Album of the Year in the 51st CMA Awards. Stapleton also garnered the Male Vocalist of the Year for his second time. Now seven months after that release, "From »»»
Life Changes CD review - Life Changes
Thomas Rhett references mangoritas, Coldplay and verified Instagram accounts on his third album, and for some, that may be a deal-breaker. His ultra-contemporary style and pop culture smarts may be anathema for fans of traditional country. However, writing Rhett off by stamping a cowboy boot and hollering "That ain't country!" writes off some truly standout songs - created by combining the best elements of country and pop music. Take the sophisticated songwriting of country and the »»»
Tangled Up CD review - Tangled Up
Thomas Rhett picks up where he left off on his 2013 debut, "It Goes Like This," which netted three chart toppers. Rhett would be hard to categorize as country, although in the big tent philosophy of what passes these days, country serves more as a marketing niche. He's more soul, funk and hip hop than country. His catchy, bouncy "Crash and Burn," another number one song, is squarely soulful pop with a few small sonic tweaks (whistles, backing "uhs" near the end) »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Lambert refuses to rest on laurels – Watching this stop on Miranda Lambert's "Livin' Like Hippies Tour," one is struck by just how many great songs the country singer/songwriter already has in her repertoire. With most artists, it's relatively easy to guess which song a performer will choose to close a show. But Lambert has so many winners to pick from, many... »»»
Concert Review: DBT rocks on – Drive-By Truckers still sometimes get miscategorized as alt.-country, but who's kidding whom? With three electric guitarists upfront exchanging hard rock licks all night, this is a blistering Southern rock band. Hitting the stage just before 10, the band played a satisfying 2-hour-plus set. At 11:40, Patterson Hood announced the band would be... »»»
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