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Chris Stapleton’s ‘Traveller’ rockets to No. 1 after CMA Awards

Chris Stapleton is photographed at the Charlie Hotel in West Hollywood on April 7.

Chris Stapleton is photographed at the Charlie Hotel in West Hollywood on April 7.

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
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Don’t ever try telling Chris Stapleton that awards shows don’t matter.

The country singer and songwriter’s 6-month-old debut solo album “Traveller” has leaped to the top of Billboard’s 200 Albums chart on the heels of his widely buzzed-about performance with Justin Timberlake on Wednesday at the 2015 Country Music Assn. Awards in Nashville.

It was an ideal combination for a post-awards sales bump: a standout performance by an artist not well known beyond country music devotees coupled with wins in three major CMA categories: album, male vocalist and new artist of the year.

A week earlier, “Traveller” was nowhere to be found in the top 200, having sold 3,000 copies. After the CMA performance, that figure shot to 176,000 total equivalent album sales under Nielsen Music’s aggregate sales computation that factors in physical, download, streaming and track-equivalent sales figures.

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Additionally, Stapleton’s label representative noted that all dates on his solo tour, which is set to stop at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on Nov. 16, sold out within hours of the televised ceremony.

The Times profiled Stapleton in April shortly before the album came out, and staff writer Mikael Wood said that given all the anticipation about Stapleton’s pairing with Timberlake for the CMA show, “for once the bit lived up to the billing.”

Here is the video of their duet performance of “Tennessee Whiskey.”

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