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Published: Friday, 7/25/2008

Jackson reaches 50 million milestone

Alan Jackson dethroned Blake Shelton this week atop the radio charts as his single, "Good Time," replaces "Home" as the No. 1 single in the country.

It was the superstar s 33rd No. 1 hit, but Jackson got even bigger news this week when he learned that he has now crossed the 50-million album sales mark.

Jackson, a native of Newnan, Ga., was the first artist signed to Arista Nashville in 1989. His debut album, "Here in the Real World," produced four No. 1 singles and was double platinum with sales of more than 2 million copies.

"Good Time" was Jackson s 17th album. His previous 16 albums have each achieved gold, platinum, or multi-platinum status. "A Lot about Livin (And a Little Bout Love)" sold more than 6 million copies.

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Taylor Swift s rise in popularity doesn t seem to be slowing. This week she became the only artist this decade to hold down the No. 1 and No. 2 positions on Billboard s Country Albums chart.

"Beautifule Eyes," a Wal-Mart exclusive CD/DVD combo topped the charts with sales of 44,652 copies. Her self-titled debut CD sold 34,622 copies. That album has spent 24 weeks on the top of the albums chart.

The two-disc "Beautiful Eyes" includes two previously unreleased tracks, "Beautiful Eyes" and "I Heart." There is also an alternative version of her current hit, "Should ve Said No." The DVD includes videos of her five hits, plus a video for "Beautiful Eyes."

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Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town is featured throughout John Mellencamp s new album, "Life, Death, Love & Freedom."

Fairchild s vocals are on four tracks, including "My Sweet Love," "Don t Need This Body," "For the Children," and "A Ride Back Home."

Fairchild appears with Mellencamp in his video for "My Sweet Love."

Mellencamp has been a longtime musical inspiration for Little Big Town. They sang harmonies on his single, "Our Country," in 2006.

LBT s latest single, "Fine Line," has just been added to radio.

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I was one of the naysayers when Heidi Newfield decided to break away from Trick Pony and her pals, Keith Burns and Ira Dean. But after seeing her in concert recently, I take it all back. She s got a lot of great new material, including "Johnny & June," a tribute to Johnny and June Carter Cash, which continues to climb the radio charts. It s at No. 24 this week on Billboard s chart.

At a time when a lot of the female voices in country music sound similar, Newfield s got an incredibly distinctive bluesy, smoky voice. Her album, which will be in stores on Aug. 5, has a chance to be something special.

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Kellie Pickler is going to be out with her second album on Sept. 30. The self-titled album is the follow-up to "Small Town Girl," which has sold almost 800,000 copies.

One track that her fans are going to absolutely love is "Rocks Instead of Rice." It s a tongue-in-cheek look at a woman attending the wedding of a former boyfriend. As the title suggests, she s wishing they were throwing rocks instead of rice.

It s a clever song that will probably be a big future hit for Pickler.

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Congratulations to Kate and Kacey Coppola. The duo were finalists on CMT s Can You Duet? reality show, and they have been signed to a contract by Big Machine Records. Their debut single, "You re Not My Judge," will be released later this summer.



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