Billboard report on the continuing success of country gospel music.

AMERICAN trade magazine Billboard have reported on the latest wave of big names in country music, including Randy Travis, George Jones and Billy Ray Cyrus, crossing over to the Top Contemporary Christian Albums chart. Said Billboard, "The trend looks to continue this year as Nashville-based Christian label INO Records partners with Sony Nashville to issue a Johnny Cash hymns collection. Additionally, Travis is working on his fourth Christian album.

Said Mark Lusk of Word Label Group, "If you look at the history of country music, it used to be that country artists would typically do a gospel record in their career. Country artists had gotten away from that and now some are venturing back to it. They are seeing what was true 25-30 years ago is still true today and that is the country fan still loves gospel music."

Sparrow Records, which jump-started the trend in the 1990s with successful Christian album by such country veterans as Charlie Daniels and Anne Murray, is preparing for the 15th June release of the third 'Amazing Grace: A Country Salute To Gospel' collection. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the first 'Amazing Grace' project sold 406,000 copies and its successor moved 249,000. Combined sales for the two volumes total more than 1.4 million copies when record clubs and special market sales are factored in." CR

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