gift

‘It’s Been in My Heart to Do a Christmas Album For Years’

Carrie Underwood lands her eighth total and consecutive No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, all of which have launched at the summit, as her first holiday full-length, My Gift, opens atop the list dated Oct. 10.

In its first week, ending Oct. 1, the set, released Sept. 25, earned 43,000 equivalent album units, with 43,000 in album sales.

“It has been in my heart to do a Christmas album for years, and we started planning this last year when we finished the Cry Pretty Tour 360,” Underwood tells Billboard. “Who would have known what would happen in the world since then, and how much we would all be ready for the hope and joy that Christmas music embodies this year more than ever.”

On the 56-year-old Top Country Albums chart, My Gift marks the 2005 American Idol winner’s record eighth consecutive career-opening No. 1. She passes Miranda Lambert, whose history on the survey encompasses seven leaders, most recently 2019’s Wildcard.

My Gift follows Underwood’s last LP, Cry Pretty, which arrived with 266,000 units in September 2018. Her run started with 2005’s Some Hearts, followed by Carnival Ride (2007), Play On (2009), Blown Away (2012), Greatest Hits: Decade #1 (2014) and Storyteller (2015).

My Gift was produced by Greg Wells and includes eight traditional and three original songs. John Legend duets on new composition “Hallelujah” and Underwood’s five-year-old son, Isaiah Fisher, is featured on “Little Drummer Boy.” Isaiah makes his own Billboard chart debut, as “Little Drummer Boy” enters Christian Digital Song Sales at No. 8 and the multi-metric Hot Christian Songs chart at No. 45.

The LP also arrives at No. 8 on the all-genre Billboard 200, granting Underwood her eighth top 10; No. 1 on the returningTop Holiday Albums tally; and No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart, where it’s Underwood’s first entry. Still, she’s no stranger to faith-based surveys, having posted five entries on Hot Christian Songs, including her 26-week No. 1 “Something in the Water” in 2014-15.

Meanwhile, My Gift is the first holiday title to debut at No. 1 on Top Country Albums since Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood’s Christmas Together in December 2016.

‘HOMETOWN’ NEWS Morgan Wallen nabs his fourth Country Airplay top 10 as “More Than My Hometown” climbs 11-9, up 15% to 21.4 million impressions in the week ending Oct. 4.

Wallen’s prior three top 10s topped Country Airplay: “Up Down” (featuring Florida Georgia Line), for a week in June 2018; “Whiskey Glasses” (three weeks, June 2019); and “Chasin’ You” (one week, this May).

On the multi-metric Hot Country Songs chart, “Hometown” rises 6-5, adding 7.9 million U.S. streams and 4,000 downloads sold.

Concurrently, Wallen’s “7 Summers,” which is also being promoted to country radio, holds at No. 27 on Country Airplay (4.7 million, up 16%). On Hot Country Songs, the track ranks at No. 12 after launching atop the chart dated Aug. 29, becoming only the fifth title to soar in at the apex in the list’s history.

Both songs are set to appear on Wallen’s forthcoming sophomore LP, while Wallen is scheduled to appear as the musical guest on NBC’s Saturday Night Live Oct. 10.

BIG START FOR RICH John Rich, half of Big & Rich (with Big Kenny Alphin), scores his second solo No. 1 on Country Digital Song Sales, as “Earth to God” debuts with 11,000 sold. Rich premiered the track, which also opens at No. 38 on Hot Country Songs, on Fox and Friends on its Sept. 25 release day.

Rich previously topped Country Digital Song Sales in June 2019 with “Shut Up About Politics” (featuring The Five, which comprises Fox News commentators; Rich co-wrote that track with the network’s Greg Gutfeld.)

HER ‘WAY’ IN Sarahbeth Taite makes her Billboard chart debut as her self-released “Long Way” begins at No. 4 on Country Digital Song Sales with 6,000 sold in its first week. The song has gained traction on the Fort Collins, Colo., native’s account on TikTok, where she boasts over 180,000 followers.

“Long Way,” also new on Hot Country Songs at No. 47, is the latest country song to segue to Billboard’s charts after building traction on TikTok. Two weeks earlier, Andrew Jannakos’ “Gone Too Soon” roared in at No. 1 on Country Digital Song Sales (28,000), after Priscilla Block’s “Just About Over You” began at No. 4 (7,000) in August.

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