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"There’s obviously a market for country music—it just needs to be the right country music. God, I’m boring."
—— Brian Stevens of Fred Meyer
KENNY CHESNEY PULLS OFF
THE HAT TRICK!!!
Star Wars in Orbit, Cee-Lo, Wilco and Elvis All Bow Big
There are people who say the country-music business is in the toilet. They say Nashville is spoon-feeding Country radio a bunch of mediocre slick-pop, while adults continue to find REAL music like O Brother, Where Art Thou? and kids discover REAL artists like Hank Williams III.

While we’re not sure what that has to do with BNA’s Kenny Chesney debuting at a very REAL #1 on the HITS Top 50 Albums chart, it sure made for a bitchin’ lead paragraph.

"Great sales across the board," yelled Brian Stevens of Fred Meyer, which moved massive numbers of Kenny. "There’s obviously a market for country music—it just needs to be the right country music." Listening to his own words, Brian then accidentally lulled himself to sleep.

Besides the Ches-man, the other Top 10 debut belongs to Sony Classical’s Star Wars Episode II at #6, which joins fellow soundtracks Scorpion King (#8) and O Brother (#10) in the Top 10. Next week’s Spider-Man chart debut may make that four soundtracks in the Top 10.

Also making solid bows are Arista’s Cee-Lo at #11, Nonesuch/Atlantic’s Wilco at #13 and Island/IDJ’s Elvis Costello at #19.

"The strong Wilco and Elvis debuts, coupled with continued strong sales for artists like Norah Jones, are proving that an upper demo consumer is alive, well and actively seeking music that appeals to them," said Kevin Hawkins of Amazon.com, who woke up after being lulled to sleep by Fred Meyer’s Brian Stevens.

Following Chesney in the Top Five are Island/IDJ’s Ashanti, A&M/Interscope’s Sheryl Crow, Epic’s Celine Dion and UTV’s Now Vol. 9.

Besides Roadrunner/IDJ/Columbia/SMS’s Spider-Man soundtrack, look for A&M/Interscope’s Vanessa Carlton and Cash Money/Universal’s Big Tymers to bow big on next week’s chart.

ANALYZING THE ACMS
A few firsts among the ACM Awards noms. (2/26a)
LIVE NATION EYES
SUMMER RESTART
Rapino's ready for festivals to return. (2/26a)
DODGING BULLETS AND DIVINE PURPOSE
Kamasi Washington answers our questions. (2/26a)
iHEARTMEDIA RESTRUCTURES BUSINESS UNITS
Radio giant makes a shift. (2/26a)
FREEDOM NOW AND OTHER JAMS, PT. 1
Social justice through the lens of jazz (2/23a)
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
A jazz chronicle of fighting the power.
GRAMMYS: WHERE TO FROM HERE?
After the snubs, the show.
ACQUITTED
In a phenomenal display of cowardice.
MOVING THE NEEDLE
When vaccination schedules and touring schedules meet.
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