Nelson Transcends Earle With Drummer

Willie Nelson's Me and the Drummer tops Steve Earle's Transcendental Blues on Americana chart.

It took no less of a musical heavyweight than Willie Nelson to knock brawny Steve Earle out of the top spot on the Gavin Americana chart.

Credited to Willie Nelson and the Offenders, Me and the Drummer drops Earle's Transcendental Blues to #2 after 10 straight weeks at #1 on the survey of radio airplay.

Transcendental Blues also is #27, slipping from #25, on this week's Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

Me and the Drummer didn't make any of the Billboard sales charts, but it's been a steady favorite on the Internet for the past year, and there doesn't seem to be a great awareness that Nelson's Luck Records recently released it to retail outlets.

The album, which places such songs as "Home Motel" and "No Tomorrow in Sight" in a relaxed setting, has won high praise at the site, despite a one-star (out of five) rating that purports to come from fellow country legend Merle Haggard.

"Willie, you keep taking my fans away from me and you steal the market from anyone else. Well I've had enough now," Haggard supposedly wrote in an e-mail. "Time for me to fight back. No more Mr. Nice Haggard."

Debuting in the Americana top 10 is Dwight Yoakam's (Reprise), which moves to #10 from #16. As the title indicates, Yoakam's latest is an unplugged album that also has a link to the Internet. Here, the country singer remakes his favorites, such as "1,000 Miles" and "Fast As You" (slower here), to the backing of his own acoustic guitar.

Also cruising in cyberspace is Riding With the King by B.B. King and Eric Clapton, which not only tops the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart for the eighth straight week, but also lands at #2 (it was #1 last week) on the magazine's Top Internet Albums survey.

Making up the rest of the Top Blues Albums top 10 are Johnnie Taylor's Gotta Get the Groove Back at #2; Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band's Live On at #3; Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble's Blues at Sunrise at #4; Jonny Lang's Wander This World at #5; Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble's The Real Deal: Greatest Hits Volume 2 at #6; Etta James' Best of Etta James at #7; Mel Waiters' Material Things, which jumps to #8 from #13; B.B. King's Best of B.B. King: The Millennium Collection at #9; and Shannon Curfman's Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions at #10.

Rounding out the top 10 on the Americana chart are Joe Ely's Live at Antone's at #3; Max Stalling, whose #4 Wide Afternoon switches places with #5 Carry On by Pat Green; Tish Hinojosa's Sign of Truth at #6; Little Feat's Chinese Work Songs at #7; Big House's Woodstock Nation at #8; and Neil Young's Silver & Gold at #9.