2006 was a year of surprises on the charts, with some new albums wildly exceeding expectations. Here are some particularly successful projects that weren’t expected to do so well, along with some unexpected misses that are performing below expectations.
Josh Turner, Your Man
Release: January 24, 2006
Sales to Date: 1,522,015
Turner seemed to have “one-hit wonder” written all over him when his religious-themed sleeper hit “Long Black Train” powered the album of the same name to platinum status. Radio had never embraced him, despite those sales, and expectations were low for the follow-up album. Turner beat the odds by playing against type, and returning with a smooth love song that topped the singles chart. He’s now one of the genre’s hottest stars.
Alan Jackson, Precious Memories
Release: February 28, 2006
Sales to Date: 1,171,598
This collection of Sunday School songs that he recorded for his Mom as a present was quietly released, and went on to outsell nearly all of his recent studio albums – all of them without a certain 9/11 anthem – despite no radio play. It’s even been outselling his more recent studio album, Like Red On a Rose, for the last few weeks. Those two projects garnered Jackson three Grammy nominations, and have shown him to be a lot more versatile than he’s generally been given credit for.
Little Big Town, The Road From Here
Release: October 4, 2005
Sales to Date: 885,764
Jason Aldean, Jason Aldean
Release: July 26, 2005
Sales to Date: 829,918
The Wreckers, Stand Still, Look Pretty
Release: May 23, 2006
Sales to Date: 586,851
Rodney Atkins, If You’re Going Through Hell
Release: July 18, 2006
Sales to Date: 576, 128
Kellie Pickler, Small Town Girl
Release: October 31, 2006
Sales to Date: 336,148
Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift
Release: October 24, 2006
Sales to Date: 263,898
Heartland, I Loved Her First
Release: October 10, 2006
Sales to Date: 227,395
This year has seen a stunning number of acts break through and post impressive sales numbers, more than any year in recent memory. Many have done so on independent labels and/or before radio was on board. It’s a healthy sign for the industry that consumers are so willing to receive new acts, and that may be necessary, considering…
It’s all relative, I know, but a few projects have surprised me with their lackluster sales, at least as compared to what could normally be expected from those artists. Here are a handful of albums that haven’t been the success their labels probably budgeted for.
Kenny Chesney, Live Those Songs Again
Release: September 19, 2006
Sales to Date: 396,494
Live albums are always a dicey proposition, but who would think that despite being available since September and all those pre-Christmas sales being tallied, that Chesney’s live set would have a cumulative total that is smaller than the opening week of his last studio album?
Dierks Bentley, Long Trip Alone
Release: October 17, 2006
Sales to Date: 267,600
Since his last studio album sold 1.35 million on the strength of just three singles, this was supposed to be one of the biggest fourth quarter releases for the genre. As it’s turned out, this excellent album has been sliding down the charts rapidly; though it did gain a bit of steam Christmas week, it’s still barely hanging on in the Top 100 albums, with many older albums by newer country artists outselling it. Color me confused.
Montgomery Gentry, Some People Change
Release: October 24, 2006
Sales to Date: 129,883
Ouch. Country consumers have summarily rejected the latest album from genre mainstays Montgomery Gentry, despite radio embracing the title cut and their gold-selling hits package that preceded the set. Suddenly the perennial “right below Brooks & Dunn” duo is being outsold by many other twosomes – Sugarland, Big & Rich and The Wreckers have pushed MG to the #5 spot among country duos, according to SoundScan at least. Is there another single on this album to save the set?