A familiar feeling for Flatts

Country trio scores chart hat trick

In a strong week for new releases, Rascal Flatts scored its third straight No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with "Still Feels Good."

The Lyric Street set sold 547,000 copies in the U.S. during the week ending Sept. 30, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the largest sum for a country act since the band's own "Me and My Gang" shifted 722,000 last year. The trio's third album, 2004's "Feels Like Today," also bowed at the summit.

All told, 11 of this week's top 20 albums are new releases. Keyshia Cole's sophomore set "Just Like You" (Imani/Geffen) bowed at No. 2, beating the No. 6 peak of her 2005 debut "The Way It Is." Sales of 281,000 copies were fueled in part by the top 10 single "Let It Go," featuring Missy Elliott and Lil Kim.

Foo Fighters' Roswell/RCA album "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace" entered at No. 3 with 168,000. The veteran band's 2005 record, "In Your Honor," earned its best chart numbers, bowing at No. 2 with 311,000.

R&B vocalist Jill Scott scored her second-best-charting album this week with "The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3" (Hidden Beach), which debuted at No. 4 with 148,000. Scott's 2004 album "Vol. 2" bowed and peaked at No. 3.

Kanye West's Def Jam album "Graduation" continued its decline, slipping three spots to No. 5 on 133,000 units sold. Reba McEntire's MCA Nashville set "Reba Duets" fell to No. 6 after a No. 1 bow last week. Disney's "High School Musical 2" soundtrack was down a notch to No. 7 with 85,000.

R&B group Jagged Edge nabbed its fifth Billboard 200 charting album with "Baby Makin' Project" (So So Def/Island Urban), which debuted at No. 7 with 78,000. The quartet's self-titled 2006 effort peaked at No. 4.

Descending six places to No. 9, 50's Cent's "Curtis" (Shady/ Aftermath) moved 71,000 units. Kenny Chesney's "Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates" (BNA/ Sony BMG Nashville) fell five to round out the top 10 with 68,000.

Four veteran female acts were among the other debuts this week. After a three-year absence, Queen Latifah re-entered with her best-charting album ever, "Trav'lin' Light" (Verve), at No. 11 with 51,000 copies; Melissa Etheridge earned her 10th top 40 album as "Awakening" (Island) debuted at No. 13 with 48,000; Joni Mitchell's "Shine" (Hear Music), her first album since 1998, debuted at No. 14 with 40,000; and Chaka Khan's "Funk This" (Burgundy) entered at No. 15 with 39,000.

Katie Hasty is an online editor at Billboard.com.