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Chesney, Urban stay first on charts

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 – Kenny Chesney led the Billboard Country Albums chart for the week ending Nov. 26 with "Cosmic Hallelujah." Keith Urban continues atop the Hot Country Songs chart with "Blue Ain't Your Color."

Chris Stapleton was second on the albums chart with "Traveller." Urban held third with "Ripcord. Eric Church's "Mr. Misunderstood: On the Rocks, Live And (Mostly) Unplugged" EP debuted in fourth. The "NOW That's What I Call Country #1's" compilation debuted in fifth.

Florida Georgia Line climbed from 11 to 6 with "Dig Your Roots." "CMA Awards 50 ZinePak" from various artists was up from 14 to 9. Chris Young jumped from 24 to 12 with "It Must Be Christmas." "Strait for the Holidays" from George Strait shot up from 36 to 14. Aaron Lewis was at 15 with "Sinner," up 8. Rascal Flatts also moved up 8 spots, to 18, with "The Greatest Gift of All," its holiday collection. Tim McGraw jumped from 29 to 20 with "Damn Country Music."

Kelsea Ballerini was at 22 with "The First Time," up 3. Reba McEntire was 23rd with "My Kind of Christmas," up 9.

On the songs chart, Florida Georgia Line was second with "May We All," which features McGraw. Cole Swindell was third with "Middle of a Memory," one ahead of Kenny Chesney's "Setting the World on Fire," featuring P!nk. Brett Young was up three to fifth with "Sleep Without You."

Granger Smith made it into the top 25 with "If the Boot Fits," which was up 2 to 24.

Bradley Walker led the Bluegrass Albums chart again with "Call Me Old-fashioned." Dwight Yoakam stayed second with "Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars..." Nitty Gritty Dirt Band held third with "Circlin' Back: Celebrating 50 Years, Live at the Ryman Auditorium, TN." Greensky Bluegrass went from eighth to fourth with "Shouted, Written Down & Quoted." Mandolin Orange was fifth with "Blindfaller."

Stapleton led the Folk/Americana chart. The late Leonard Cohen was second with "You Want It Darker." Jim James of My Morning Jacket was third with "Eternally Even." The Lumineers were fourth with "Cleopatra" and Bon Iver fifth with "22, A Million."

On the overall top 200 chart, Chesney fell from 2nd to 10th. Stapleton was 16th, Urban 20th, Florida Georgia Line 27th and Thomas Rhett 38th with "Tangled Up." The top 200 and country charts use different criteria.

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CD reviews

Cosmic Hallelujah CD review - Cosmic Hallelujah
The gospel, per Kenny Chesney's pseudo-spiritually-titled album, "Cosmic Hallelujah," is that the world is too crazy to make any sense of, and the only logical response is to drink more alcohol. (So, don't be surprised if there are more arrests for public intoxication at the performer's upcoming concert dates). Nearly every song includes lines about drinking alcohol - and not merely for the taste. This content will please many of his hard-partying fans. »»»
Ripcord CD review - Ripcord
Even though Keith Urban's single, "Wasted Time," borrows more than a little sonic sensibility from electronic music, there's still an upfront banjo solo. And this is how it's always been with Urban. He may play the part of the guitar hero at times, and even revealed his eclectic musical knowledge as a judge on American Idol, but Urban will always be a country boy at heart. And boyish good looks and talent have taken this country boy far, too. The wonderfully titled »»»
Fuse CD review - Fuse
Keith Urban will keep his superstar status intact with the lengthy "Fuse." The upbeat, commercial- and fan-friendly music and singing from Urban will ensure that. This is pretty much vintage Urban. That means Urban's not very high on the country quotient. What sounds like a guitar on the rocking Good Thing and the somewhat swampy Red Camaro, for example, is Mike Elizondo's programming. Yes, there's gango (six-stringed banjo with guitar neck) sprinkled in many songs, but »»»
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: Kristofferson gives insight, but no easy answers – When they say music gets better with age, they're not always just talking about songs alone; sometimes they're also referring to the listener. When Kris Kristofferson sings, "Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt," to smartly open "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," he... »»»
Concert Review: No sugarcoating, Welch dishes out an experience – Gillian Welch (accompanied, as always, by master guitarist David Rawlings), celebrated her "The Harrow & The Harvest" album with a powerful night of music. She apologized many times for the utter unhappiness expressed through this album's songs, admitting it's "not the most chipper album" at one point.... »»»
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