> Album: Always & Forever
> Artist: Randy Travis
Randy Travis’ “Always & Forever” won in 1987 with other nominees being George Strait’s “Ocean Front Property,” Reba McEntire’s “What Am I Gonna Do About You,” George Jones’ “Wine Colored Roses,” and “Trio” by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris. Travis’ album stood above thanks in part to its massive singles “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “I Won’t Need You Anymore,” and “Too Gone Too Long.” The singer also won Male Vocalist of the Year and Single of the Year for his song “Forever And Ever, Amen,” which he performed at that year’s awards show.
> Album: Born To Boogie
> Artist: Hank Williams, Jr.
The unlikely titled album from country royalty Hank Williams, Jr. won the CMA Album of the Year over Vern Godsin, Rodney Crowell, George Strait, and Kathy Mattea. The big-beat album makes a nod to rock with covers of the Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Woman” and celebrates country with the singalong anthem “Young Country.” “Born To Boogie” was one of nine No.1 country albums for Williams Jr.
> Album: Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Vol.II
> Artist: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The bluegrass-tinged country album “Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Vol.II” from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band features guest appearances from Roy Acuff, Johnny Cash, Levon Helm, Ricky Skaggs, John Denver, Emmylou Harris, and more. It won Album of the Year over offerings from George Strait, Ricky Van Shelton, Randy Travis, and Kathy Mattea. The band was also nominated for Vocal Event of the Year for their collaboration with John Denver.
> Album: Pickin’ on Nashville
> Artist: The Kentucky Headhunters
The Kentucky Headhunters might be considered to be more Southern rock than country, but “Pickin’ on Nashville” garnered them the 1990 CMA Album of the Year over a field that included Alan Jackson, Keith Whitley, George Strait, and Ricky Van Shelton. The album was the group’s biggest hit, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard country album chart. The album produced the group’s lone top-10 country song, “Oh, Lonesome Me.”
> Album: No Fences
> Artist: Garth Brooks
One year after winning the New Artist award at the CMA Awards in 1990 — then titled the Horizon Award — Garth Brooks won Album of the Year for his second studio album “No Fences.” Brooks — who was still producing music in the neotraditionalist camp at this point — won over Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Clint Black, and Reba McEntire. The album would eventually be certified 17x Platinum by the RIAA, driven in part by the single “Friends in Low Places.” He also won Entertainer of the Year in 1991.