Chris Stapleton has made history by being the first ever artist to top Billboard's brand new Americana/Folk albums chart. It's another in a long line of accolades Stapleton has achieved with his debut solo album Traveller.
Billboard renamed its old folk chart to the Americana/Folk chart in an effort to include more artists in the rankings and acknowledge the genre's surge in popularity. The debut of the chart on June 4th is a pretty big deal, because it finally recognizes "Americana" as a music genre after years of use within the industry and music journalism.
Americana is best described as a bridging of country, rock and roots music. Some of the most critically lauded artists in country music, like Stapleton, Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson, are well covered under the wide umbrella of the Americana genre.
Traveller spent a staggering 20 weeks at No. 1 on the top country albums chart as well, a rare feat for any artist, much less a "new" one. All in all, the album has appeared on the chart for 55 weeks and counting.
It's promising to see Americana gain recognition in the music industry's most respected magazine. With increasing radio support on independent stations and some of the hipper large market stations, Americana is slowly growing to be the new genre representative of American grit, heart and storytelling.