Country music is one of the most beloved genres of music in the United States today. The style originated from Blues, Folk, Western, Gospel, and Tejano influences. As with all things “American,” the genre combines a variety of influences and if you listen closely, you will find that the genre offers a wide range of sound from pop to traditional. Finding a name for your baby can be particularly stressful when you do not know where to start and we urge you to look to the world of music and art to find baby name inspiration.
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that country music has had a huge influence on pop culture and almost all the music coming from America today. After we recently saw Dolly Parton receive a vaccine which she donated $1 million to fund, we decided we would look to the brightest stars of country music who inspire us with their iconic songs. These names and songs helped us come up with country-fried baby names to share with you! Check out these 25 baby names for boys inspired by country music’s legendary performers and their meaningful songs!
Merle Haggard had a knack for writing songs that resonated with folks from all walks of life. Hits like “Mama’s Hungry Eyes,” “Branded Man” and “Sing Me Back Home” painted a portrait of sorrow that, for some, would otherwise be difficult to comprehend. Merle is a French baby name that means “blackbird.” It began as a nickname for someone who likes to sing or whistle. This makes it a perfect country music baby name!
Hank Williams has been gone for over six decades now, but he’s still among the first mentioned in discussions of country icons. If there were a country music bible, “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” would be its Genesis. Hank has been a popular baby name in the US since the 1940s and it is more popular today than ever before! Hank is a diminutive form of Henry, which means “estate ruler.”
Along with his contemporaries Marty Stuart and Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill brought country music back to its roots in the late 80s and early 90s. “When I Call Your Name” and “Go Rest High On That Mountain” are country music gold. Vince comes from the Latin name Vincent which means “conquering.” Vince has not been a favorite name among new parents since the sixties, but we think it should make a comeback!
It’s no wonder that Dwight Yoakam was adopted by the 80s L.A. punk scene when he was still hunting for his big break. Yoakam was never afraid of being an outsider, even if it meant going against the grain. While Music Row was harnessing a slick, pop-driven “Urban Cowboy” sound, Yoakam went hardcore honky-tonk. Dwight was once one of America’s most popular baby names for boys, appearing in the US top 500 for decades. It has not made the list since 1992. Dwight is a German name, meaning “blond.”
Known for his smooth voice and unparalleled musicianship, Glen Campbell brought country music to the pop masses with his massive hits “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Wichita Lineman.” Glen is another name that’s fallen from fashion, sounding a bit retro today. That could appeal to you! Glen is a baby name with Scottish origins that means “a narrow valley.”
Regarded as one of the greatest living songwriters, Kris Kristofferson has never made being a commercial success a priority. This is why how he became one of the most successful songwriters in Nashville. “Sunday Mornin’ Coming Down” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night” are country music standards. Kris is a subtle country music baby name, it’s a form of Christopher which means “one who carries Christ.”
A leader of the late 80s neo-traditional movement in country music, Randy Travis reminded everyone that the souls of Hank and Lefty were far from dead with dance hall gems like “On the Other Hand.” Randy, as a name, has taken on a rather saucy meaning ever since Austin Powers immortalized the term. It’s still in the US top 1000 today, however! Randy is a form of Randall or Randolph that means “shield-wolf.”
Charley Pride skyrocketed to stardom in the late 1960s, landing eight No. 1 singles on the Billboard country chart between 1969 and 1971. His smooth baritone and classy country music sound culminated in his 1971 song “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.” Pride was one of three African-American members of the Grand Ole Opry. Charley is a delightful form of Charles that was very popular at the beginning of the twentieth century. It has since fallen from favor. Like Charles, Charley means “free man.”
While you could go with Garth, we like Garth Brooks’ last name as a given name these days. Long before Luke Bryan and Keith Urban were delivering electric performances on par with popular rock shows, Garth Brooks was changing the concept of what a country music concert could be. Don’t let the flashing lights distract you from his unquestionable talent! Brooks is a very popular baby name for boys and will likely be in the US top 100 next year. This English baby name means “of the brook.”
An engineer of the Bakersfield Sound, Buck Owens brought a West Coast swagger to country music with his song “Tiger By the Tail” and “Act Naturally.” He inspired the likes of Dwight Yoakam in the process. Buck has not gotten much use as a baby name since the 1980s. The English name means “male deer.” In the 18th century, “buck” was a term applied to a dashing, fashionable man.
Country music superstar Alan Jackson paved the way for many others. The Georgia-native has been making unapologetic country music for nearly three decades. His signature songs, “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” “Remember When,” and “Livin’ On Love” sound as good now as the day they were recorded. Alan is a popular Irish baby name today, meaning “handsome.”
Many people only think of one person when they hear the name Conway, Conway Twitty. The singer flawlessly transitioned from rockabilly to country in the late 1950s. The Mississippian’s “It’s Only Make Believe,” “Linda On My Mind,” and the teasing “Lay You Down” proved that country music could be utterly provocative. Conway is an Irish surname name that means “hound of the plain.”
Ernest Tubb‘s “Walkin’ the Floor Over You” is as country music as country music gets. His honky-tonk style and post-Opry show the Midnite Jamboree inspired many young dreamers to take the stage. Ernest is one of those sober, so-far-out-they’re-beginning-to-be-reconsidered baby names. Ernest has been trending down for decades, but we still think there’s a market for this German name that means “resolute.”
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Vern Gosdin was an American country music singer. Known as “The Voice” he had 19 top-10 solo hits on the country music charts from 1977 through 1990. Vern also had a fantastic name! Vern meaning, “place of alders,” has fallen from fashion and has not been used by many new parents since the 1960s. We’d love to hear more Vern!
From the early 1950s through the 1970s, Faron Young was among the top stars and most colorful personalities in all of country music. Signature singles like “If You Ain’t Lovin’ (You Ain’t Livin’)” and “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young” marked him as a honky-tonk man. Faron was mildly popular in the 60s and 70s but it has never been a huge hit among American parents. Faron is an English name that means “handsome servant.”
Ernest Jennings Ford, known professionally as Tennessee Ernie Ford, was an American singer and television host who enjoyed success in the Western, pop, gospel, and country music genres. You could do no better as a country music-lover to choose the baby name Tennessee. The name comes from Native American tradition meaning “meeting place” or “winding river.”
No one blended rock and country music quite like Gram Parsons. He popularized what he called “Cosmic American Music”, a hybrid of country, rhythm and blues, soul, folk, and rock. Gram has never really stuck for American parents, but it’s used as an alternative form of Graham or Graeme in the UK. This Scottish baby name means “gravelly homestead.”
This is a bit of an unusual suggestion, but we encourage you to use the initials of John Edward Prine to bring you the name Jep. Jep has a history as a popular baby name in the US appearing on the US top 1000 in 1883. Jep is a shortened form of Jeptha, meaning “God will open.” Widely cited as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation, Prine was known for humorous lyrics about relationships, life, and current events, as well as serious songs with social commentary and songs that recollect melancholy tales from his life.
A gifted entertainer, Lonnie Melvin Tillis, known professionally as Mel Tillis, distinguished himself as a songwriter, singer, film actor, and television personality. His biggest success occurred in the 1970s as part of the Outlaw Country music movement, with a long list of Top 10 hits. Mel is a short form of Melvin, a name meaning “counsel protector.”
Townes Van Zandt was an American singer-songwriter who wrote numerous songs. Hits like “Pancho and Lefty”, “For the Sake of the Song”, “Tecumseh Valley”, “Rex’s Blues”, and “To Live Is to Fly” are widely considered masterpieces of American songwriting. Townes makes for a unique country music baby name! Townes is an English surname-name that means “from the settlement.”
John Denver was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and humanitarian, whose greatest success was as a solo singer. By 1974, he was one of the country’s best-selling performers, with hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” he solidified his country music bona fides. Denver works great as a given name as it comes from a French place-name and surname. The name means “from Anvers.” The name is climbing the charts today, resting just outside the top 500 last year.
We wrote a similar list to this one but for girls, and we used Paisley from Brad Paisley as a name suggestion. We are going to do something similar here for Naomi and Wynonna Judd of The Judds. The Judds were one of the most successful acts in country music with 14 No. 1 hits! Judd has a history as a given name dating back to the Medieval Era as a short form of Jordan, a Hebrew name meaning, “flowing down.” The name has been mildly successful here appearing in the US top 1000 last in 1988. Go for it, parents!
Armed with Texas swagger and a take-no-prisoners attitude, Waylon Jennings set Music City on fire in the 1970s as part of the Outlaw Country music movement. Waylon is a boy’s name of English origin meaning “land beside the road.” The name has made a huge comeback in recent years and it is just outside the US top 100.
Willie Nelson. Even after 60 years in the music business, we’re all still fascinated with the Red Headed Stranger. From his adventurous “On the Road Again” to delicate ballads like “Yesterday’s Wine,” Willie Nelson is one of the greatest country music singer-songwriters of all time. Willie has been on the downward trend, but we think parents inspired by Nelson could breathe new life into it. Willie is a form of William and it means “resolute protection.”
His name is synonymous with country music and his impact on the genre is immense. From “Ring of Fire” and “I Walk the Line” to his latter career resurgence with “Hurt,” Johnny Cash is more than just a country legend. He’s an American legend. We like Cash due to its more contemporary sound. Cash refers to “currency” but also it’s a form of Cassius, meaning “hollow.” Cash is a top 500 baby name today.
Yeehaw! Did you love these country music baby names for boys inspired by the brightest stars of the genre? We certainly hope that you did and you found a great name or two worth considering. We went for some of the bigger names in country music, but you should explore your favorite artists and their names to potentially find the perfect name for you. Happy baby name hunting!
If you loved these names, keep reading! We’ve got some cowboy baby names to share with you as well!
Check Out the Cowboy Names That Are Heating Up Right Now:
Dusty is a cowboy name that’s as rugged as they come. The name is considered a diminutive form of Dustin which is of Norse origin and means “brave warrior” or “Thor’s stone.” “Brave warrior” is the perfect meaning for a cowboy name. The name peaked in 1981 but it could ride the wave along with other informal names that new parents are loving today.
Rio is a name that has just found widespread favor. The name landed in the US top 1000 most popular names for boys for the first time in 2020 and we expect it to land in the top 500 in the next year or two. Rio is a name of Spanish origin that means “river.”
Good ol’ Hank has made a huge comeback in recent years. This name of German origin is a diminutive form of Henry, meaning “estate ruler.” It’s a cowboy baby name that is now more popular than ever before in the US.
Cash is a name that will forever be associated with Johnny Cash for most Americans. Cash is an established standalone name at this point but for many years it was considered a diminutive form of Cassius, a Latin name, meaning “hollow.” The name is more popular than ever before and we think that trend will hold over the next several years.
Buck was last popular in the 1980s but we think its charms could sway new parents. It’s an excellent name if you are expecting a July baby as the Buck Moon occurs during the month when male deer reach their largest size.
Zeb is considered a short form of Zebediah or Zebulon, from Hebrew, meaning “gift of God.” Zeb has such a cool, punchy sound and it is a serious mystery to us why more parents are not choosing it. It was last popular in the US in 1909 so it would completely be a unique choice today.
Ranger is a unisex, occupational name of French origin that means “protector of the forest.” Ranger has never been a widely used name for boys in the US but we think it is the perfect choice for parents looking for cowboy names. It brings to mind The Lone Ranger of radio and TV fame.
Traditionally, Tripp has been given to a baby boy who is born third but we think it works just fine for any baby. Tripp is an English word name that is taken to mean “third.” The name first started trending in 2008 and it has been climbing ever since. It is now a top-500 name and it shows no sign of slowing.
Landry is a unisex name of French and English origin that means “ruler.” It is one of the oldest surnames in France and has been in use for centuries. Due to its unique history in France, the name is particularly beloved by the Cajun Americans. Landry first ranked as a popular choice for boys in 2010 and it has been hanging on ever since.
Judd is a masculine name that is considered a shortened form of Jordan, a name of Hebrew origin that means “flowing down.” Judd was last popular in the 1980s and it is time to resurrect this one, parents. It might seem like a contemporary invention but Judd has been in use since medieval times.
Billy the Kid? Billy is a diminutive form of William of English origin, meaning “resolute protector.” Billy is a great unisex option that was once a top-20 name in the US. It has fallen from fashion in recent years, however, but we have hope that it will return to its former glory.
Duke is an English title of nobility that has a butch quality to it that so many parents are attracted to. It is short and sweet and right to the point. Duke is a popular name in the US today, seeing its most popular years ever throughout the 2010s. Despite naming royalty, we fill the name is more suited for the cowboys out there.
Gunner is a diminutive form of the Scandinavian name, Gunther, meaning “bold warrior.” Sometimes this name is spelled Gunnar which takes off the battle-ready edge. Gunner is especially popular among parents in the Western United States. The cowboy name first gained traction in the 1990s and it jumped into the top 500 rather quickly.
Rider is an English occupational name for a “horseman.” Alternative spelling, Ryder is actually more popular as a surname. The name has never been a popular choice in the US but we think there is plenty of potential for it to serve growing families well. The meaning “horseman” makes this firmly a cowboy baby name.
Is Maverick the king of cowboy baby names? It very well could be! Maverick is an American invention a term referring to individualism and an independent streak. The name was heard first in a 1950s James Garner western TV series. Maverick is a top-50 boy name today and it is more popular than ever before.
Westley is the cowboy version of Wesley, offering that all-important West component without being too on the nose. Wesley has had its ups and downs through the years, falling from fashion for several of them before it jumped into the top 1000 among boys’ names in the US again in 2016. It’s tracking to be more popular than ever in the next year or two.
Sawyer is a unisex occupational name that means “woodcutter.” In fact, it is one of the most popular unisex names in America today and it achieved that feat in just a few years as the name only become popular in the 1990s. We think its adventurous sound gives it cowboy appeal.
Wilder is a surname that parents realized would work excellently as a given name in the 2010s. Now, the name is tracking to be the most popular W-name for boys. Wilder as a surname is found in both German and English naming traditions. This makes us think of the Wild West, making it an appropriate cowboy baby name.
We know that Silas is a wildly popular baby name today but we think the cause of it is that it has a rugged sort of appeal. Further, the meaning of the name echoes the adventurous cowboy ethos, “forest.” The name is more popular today than ever before and it shows no signs of faltering.
Dylan is an awesome unisex name of Welsh origin that means “son of the sea.” It has been a top 50 name for boys since 1991. Dylan is a popular name around the world today as parents from all walks of life have realized its inherent charms.
Levi is a wildly popular baby name today and it is more popular than ever before in the US. In fact, it’s tracking to crack the top 10 next year! We could not be more excited about the success of this Hebrew name that means “joined.”
Colton has become a trendy name over the last decade. The name is of English origin and means “from the coal town” or “from the dark town.” Colton first gained traction in the 1980s and today, it is firmly in the top 100 most popular boy names. We think the Colt element of this appellation makes it a true contender among these cowboy baby names. Wouldn’t that make a great nickname?
Austin is an English short form of the Latin name Augustine and it has an outsized meaning of “magnificent.” Austin names a hip, Texas city giving the name a cowboy feel. Austin peaked in popularity in the 1990s but it has been slipping ever so slightly in recent years. We think this amazing name should stick around!
Luke is a handsome name of Greek origin that means “man from Lucania.” The name is a real winner among American parents but it is also extremely popular abroad. The name brings to mind the cowboy movie Cool Hand Luke. Who could forget Paul Newman in that iconic role? We think this name has serious cowboy cred but it is so popular that your child will be in very good company.
Wyatt Earp, anyone? Wyatt has got that chiseled, Easy Rider cool to it that has been attracting parents to this name in recent decades. It is derived from an English surname that means “brave in battle.” The name is firmly a top 50 pick by parents today and it is more popular now than ever before. A reflection of just how popular cowboy names have become. Choose this one and you won’t regret it!
What did you think of these cowboy baby names? We hope you found some appellations worth considering for your son. If you are looking for even more baby name inspiration, keep reading as we also have baby names for boys inspired by country music to share with you. Find a name that sings your song!
- 0.1 25. Merle
- 0.2 24. Hank
- 0.3 23. Vince
- 0.4 22. Dwight
- 0.5 21. Glen
- 0.6 20. Kris
- 0.7 19. Randy
- 0.8 18. Charley
- 0.9 17. Brooks
- 0.10 16. Buck
- 0.11 15. Alan
- 0.12 14. Conway
- 0.13 13. Ernest
- 0.14 12. Vern
- 0.15 11. Faron
- 0.16 10. Tennessee
- 0.17 9. Gram
- 0.18 8. Jep
- 0.19 7. Mel
- 0.20 6. Townes
- 0.21 5. Denver
- 0.22 4. Judd
- 0.23 3. Waylon
- 0.24 2. Willie
- 0.25 1. Cash
- 1 Check Out the Cowboy Names That Are Heating Up Right Now:
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