Amy Winehouse's posthumous chart climb continues

You can call him “Chief”: Country vocalist Eric Church’s like-named album arrived at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart last week.

Church’s third Capitol Nashville collection hit the top with a 145,000-unit debut week, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures for the week ending July 31. The hard-touring North Carolina-born singer-songwriter’s previous best came, aptly enough, with “Carolina,” which peaked at No. 17 two years ago.

The big bow for Church’s set was the only thing standing in the way of another week at No. 1 for Adele’s “21.” The British singer’s tireless Columbia album descended one slot to No. 2 with an 83,000-unit week (rising 7%). Her sophomore album’s sales now total 2.83 million, the year’s bestseller to date.

Former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland’s third solo album debuted at No. 3, shifting 77,000 copies. The Universal Motown set, her third solo album, took Rowland’s best chart position to date: Previous title “Ms. Kelly” topped out at No. 6 in 2007. Rowland’s ex-band mate Beyonce dropped two poles to No. 6 this week with “4” (41,000 units, off 23%).

The late Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” (Universal Republic) roared up the chart to No. 4, gaining five positions and 44% in a 54,000-unit week. The singer’s sophomore album vaulted back to No. 9 last week, reflecting just two days of retail sales after her sudden death on July 23; the week’s boost comes on the back of a full week’s worth of sales.

Joining Adele and Winehouse in the top 10 for the week was a fellow English soul-pop diva, Joss Stone, whose third album “LP1″ (Surfdog) rolled in at No. 9 with 30,000 moved out of the box. It bested her previous release, 2009’s “Colour Me Free,” by one chart position.

Holdovers included Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” (No. 5, 42,000, down 4%), “Kidz Bop 20″ (No. 7, 39,000, off 44%), Blake Shelton’s “Red River Blue” (No. 8, 31,000, off 34%), and Bad Meets Evil’s “Hell: The Sequel” (No. 10, 26,000, down 9%).

Another country star, Trace Adkins, is a top bet to succeed Church and former chart-topper Shelton at the apex in the coming week.

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