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U.K. MIDWEEKS: COUNTRY CROSSES OVER

Sony Music U.K’s flagship country act, Ward Thomas, are headed to #1 with their major label debut, Cartwheels, on Friday. If they top the chart, the duo will be the first British country act in Official Chart history to do so. However, it’s an extremely tight race.

Ward Thomas are a 21-year-old sister act who joined Phil Savill’s Sony Music Commercial Group in March. Their record deal is a JV with their own indie WTW Music, which is helmed by manager John Woollcombe

The group’s 2014 debut album, From Where We Stand, sold 25k in Blighty. Can Cartwheels top that?

The album is closely followed on the chart by solo star Jamie T, whose fourth album, Trick, is a mere 750 combined sales behind at midweek stage. Released by Ted Cockle’s UMG U.K. imprint Virgin EMI, can it top the #4, #2 and #4 positions of T’s previous three albums? T has the support of BBC Radio 1, where Thomas are Radio 2 favourites. 

Elsewhere on the albums chart at midweek stage, last week’s #1, Barbra Streisand's Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway (Columbia), drops to #3, while Wretch 32's third album Growing Over Life (Polydor) is new at #4. Foreverland, The Divine Comedy's self-released 11th studio album, enters at #5.

Over on the Official Singles update, it should be no surprise that last week’s #1 is set to stay. We’ve had three #1 singles over the past 22 summer weeks in Blighty, and that trend is likely to continue throughout the year unless the combined charts formula changes. So The Chainsmokers f/Halsey’s “Closer” (RCA) is in for its second week at #1, and 11k combined sales ahead of DJ Snake and Justin Bieber’s “Let Me Love You” (Polydor), which holds at #2.

The rest of the Top 5 remains unchanged: Major Lazer, Bieber and ’s “Cold Water” (Because Music) at #3, Calum Scott's cover of Robyn's “Dancing On My Own” (Virgin EMI) at #4, and twenty one pilots' “Heathens” (Atlantic) at #5.

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