> Album: Ronnie Milsap Live
> Artist: Ronnie Milsap
Ronnie Milsap again bested Waylon Jennings and Loretta Lynn in 1977 — as well as Kenny Rogers and the duo of Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius, who were nominated for their collaborative album “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You” — winning for his album “Ronnie Milsap Live.” The album was Milsap’s first live offering, recorded at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House. He also took home the awards for Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year.
> Album: It Was Almost Like a Song
> Artist: Ronnie Milsap
Ronnie Milsap had two consecutive No. 1 albums. In 1978 he won with “It Was Almost Like a Song.” Milsap brought a more pop sound to country music with the album, which reached No. 3 on the Top Country Albums chart. Among the songs on the album are “Here In Love,” “The Future Is Not What It Used To Be,” and the title track.
> Album: The Gambler
> Artist: Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” won at the 13th annual CMA Awards, over other nominees including John Conlee, Willie Nelson and Leon Russell, and Johnny Paycheck. The album featured two major pop crossover hits: “The Gambler” and “She Believes in Me.” Rogers also won 1979’s Male Vocalist of the Year.
> Album: Coal Miner’s Daughter
> Artist: Soundtrack
The soundtrack to Loretta Lynn’s biopic had large crossover appeal, climbing to No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Sissy Spacek sang Loretta Lynn’s songs (“I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” “There He Goes,” and “You’re Lookin’ at Country”), and Beverly D’Angelo sang the Patsy Cline tracks (“Walkin’ After Midnight” and “Sweet Dream”).
> Album: I Believe in You
> Artist: Don Williams
“I Believe in You” was Don Williams’ best-selling album at that point, and it earned him his sole CMA Album of the Year award. Competition in 1981 was fierce, with Williams being chosen over Dolly Parton, Alabama, George Jones, and Ronnie Milsap.
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