Kenny Chesney debuts at the top of Billboard’s country albums chart this week with Songs for the Saints. It’s his 12th studio album to reach this pinnacle -- and his 16th if you count in his greatest-hits compilations.
Brett Young’s “Mercy” rolls in as the week’s most-played song. It is Young’s 3rd No. 1 single, and it took 26 weeks to get there.
Cody Jinks’ Lifer pops in at No. 2. Three albums re-enter the charts — Chesney’s Live in No Shoes Nation (back at No. 37), Jordan Davis’ Home State (No. 49) and Songs You Know by Heart: Jimmy Buffett’s Greatest Hit(s) (No. 50).
Aaron Watson’s “Run Wild Horses” gallops back on at No. 40.
The No. 3 through No. 5 albums, in that order, are Luke Combs’ This One’s for You, Jason Aldean’s Rearview Town and Dan + Shay.
Trooping in directly behind Young’s “Mercy” in the Top 5 songs array are Chesney’s “Get Along,” Keith Urban’s “Coming Home,” featuring Julia Michaels, Dan + Shay’s “Tequila” and Aldean’s “Drowns the Whiskey,” featuring Miranda Lambert.
Jake Owen’s “I Was Jack (You Were Diane),” last week’s No. 1 slips to No. 12.
Last week, I ended this column by asking, “Any questions?”
“Yes,” a reader responded. “Where are the women?”
The answer is not a happy one: They’re mostly missing.
Among the Top 50 country albums this week, only seven are by women. And it’s not much sunnier within the Top 60 airplay rankings — just seven songs by women as principal artists and five more with women “featured” as secondary artists.
To whom does this imbalance matter? Obviously, to the women singers and songwriters who seek to be heard and to earn a living from their art. But do buyers and listeners care if the voices and personalities that entertain them mirror the gender makeup of the population? If so, how can they most effectively assert their preferences and discontents?
Damned if I know. What do you think?