Steve Earle Drops In At #5

'Transcendental Blues' is his first solo project to hit country since 1989.

NASHVILLESteve Earle returns to Billboard's Top Country albums chart with a vengeance this week, as his Transcendental Blues (RealAudio excerpt of title track) debuts at #5.

It marks the first appearance on that chart by Earle as a solo artist since 1989's Copperhead Road peaked at #7. Earle's debut album, Guitar Town, was a #1 hit on the chart in 1986 and his Exit 0 made it to #15 in 1987. Earle's 1999 album project with the Del McCoury Band, The Mountain, got to #19. Transcendental Blues also debuts at #66 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Other albums making their debuts on the Top Country albums chart are Rascal Flatts' self-titled disc at #14, comedian Tim Wilson's Hillbilly Homeboy at #58 and Joe Ely's Live at Antone's at #66.

Aside from Earle, the Top Country albums' top 10 remains nearly unchanged, with Toby Keith's How Do You Like Me Now?! dropping out of the top 10, from #9 to #11. The Dixie Chicks' Fly remains at #1, with Lee Ann Womack's I Hope You Dance chasing it from the #2 slot. Faith Hill's Breathe stays at #3, and Shania Twain's Come On Over continues to hold the #4 spot. George Strait's Latest Greatest Straitest Hits is at #6, Lonestar's Lonely Grille is at #7, Tim McGraw's A Place in the Sun is #8, the Chicks' Wide Open Spaces is at #9, and SheDaisy's The Whole SheBang is at #10.

On the Top Country singles chart, Faith Hill's "Breathe" (RealAudio excerpt) remains at #1 but is being closely pursued by Billy Gilman's "One Voice" (RealAudio excerpt), at #2. Chad Brock's "Yes!" is at #3, the Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" (RealAudio excerpt) is at #4 and Rascal Flatts' "Prayin' for Daylight" climbs to #5. Jo Dee Messina's "That's the Way" debuts at #14 on the singles chart.