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Brooks, Yearwood top country chart

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 – Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood led the Billboard Top Country Albums chart with their first holiday disc, "Christmas Together," for the week ending Dec. 3. Keith Urban topped the Hot Country Songs chart again with "Blue Ain't Your Color."

Brooks actually had one of the biggest selling discs of the week with his 10-CD box set, "The Ultimate Collection," selling 134,000 units. But the set was not eligible. Its $29.99 price fell below the minimum required price of $3.49 times the amount of discs ($34.99) for the first four weeks of release. A Tribe Called Quest was first on Billboard with 135,000 equivalent album units moved.

Brooks and Yearwood sold 21,000 units. Home Free was second on the albums chart with its Christmas disc "Full of (Even More) Cheer." Ronnie Dunn debuted in fourth with "Tattooed Heart." Chris Stapleton was fourth and last week's chart topper, "Cosmic Hallelujah" from Kenny Chesney, rounded out the top five with "Traveller."

George Strait was 11th, up 3 with "Strait for the Holidays," 1 ahead of Rascal Flatts' recent Xmas offering, "The Greatest Gift of All." Hillary Scott & the Scott Family closed out the top 25 with "Love Remains," up 3.

Florida Georgia Line was second on the songs chart with "May We All," its hit with Tim McGraw. Brett Young's "Sleep Without You" was third, one ahead of Cole Swindell's "Middle of a Memory." Jason Aldean was fifth with "A Little More Summertime."

Brett Eldredge moved four spots to eighth with "Wanna Be That Strong." Blake Shelton was 16th, up 5, with "A Guy With a Girl." Jon Pardi's "Dirt On My Boots" climbed 3 to 19. Dustin Lynch was at 22 with "Seein' Red," up 5. Brantley Gilbert closed out the top 25 with "The Weekend," up 3.

Rhonda Vincent and The Rage debuted in first on the Bluegrass Albums chart with "All the Rage: Rhonda Vincent And the Rage in Concert, Volume One." Bradley Walker was second with "Call Me Old-fashioned." Nitty Gritty Dirt Band held third with "Circlin' Back: Celebrating 50 Years, Live at the Ryman Auditorium, Tn." Dwight Yoakam was fourth with "Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars..." Balsam Range was fifth, up 10, with "Mountain Voodoo."

Leonard Cohen led the Folk/Americana chart with "You Want It Darker." Stapleton was second with "Traveller," Chuck Murphy third with "Peace Be With You," Bob Dylan fourth with "The 1966 Live Recordings" and Hart Valley Drifters debuting in fifth with "Folk Time."

On the overall top 200, Brooks and Yearwood were 11th, Stapleton 16th, Keith Urban with "Ripcord" 26th, Chesney 30th and Dunn 33rd. The top 200 and country albums chart use different criteria.

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CD reviews

Gunslinger CD review - Gunslinger
If naming your release "Gunslinger," you'd better let it rip and go for a harder country sound, especially if donning a black cowboy hat on the cover. The reality does not exactly match that sentiment for Garth Brooks, but at times he comes mighty close. The high points for Brooks are the three most traditional country songs - a couple of honky tonkers ("Honky-Tonk Somewhere" and "Cowboys and Friends") and a ballad ("Whiskey to Wine"). »»»
Christmas Together CD review - Christmas Together
Listening to Garth Brooks' and Trisha Yearwood's new holiday album of (mostly) duets, one is once again reminded how Yearwood is one of the most underrated country artists, whereas - if we're being honest -Brooks is a little on the overrated side. For instance, Brooks almost seems to be punching the clock with his vocal on the throwaway "Ugly Christmas Sweater" and then dusting off a retread with "Feliz Navidad," Yearwood sounds like a truly sexy hotty during "Santa Baby. »»»
PrizeFighter: Hit after Hit CD review - PrizeFighter: Hit after Hit
Trisha Yearwood is better known these days for being on the Food Network for her cooking show and publishing cookbooks plus being Mrs. Garth Brooks than she is for her own recording career. "Prizefighter" is a greatest hits collection plus with 10 hits and 6 new songs, going all the way back with her career song and debut single, "She's in Love With the Boy," which still resonates 23 years later. There are the upbeat ("XXXs and OOO's" and "Heaven, »»»
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: With or without band, Isbell satisfies – Usually, when an artist performs without his regular backing band, it becomes about mathematics of subtraction. That artist is armed with far fewer artistic weapons at his/her disposal, after all. In Jason Isbell's case, though, when he performed with just his wife and fiddler Amanda Shires, it was more about substitution than subtraction.... »»»
Concert Review: Grammy nominations aside, Yola, Kiah are the real deal – Grammy nominations do not make the artist, but Yola and opener Amythyst Kiah underscored time and again on this night that the honors were well deserved. In fact, Yola and Kiah's other group, Our Native Daughters, are nominated in the same category - Best American Roots. Yola has three other nominations as well. The clear winners... »»»
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