The Real Names of 21 Country Stars (Yes, They Have Different Names)

Eric Church wearing sunglasses

Not sure you know this, but a lot of your favorite country stars past and present don’t go by their actual names. This happens for many reasons…

Here are 21 artists and their real names.

1. Eric Church

Chief was born Kenneth Eric Church.

2. Jake Owen

Jake was born Joshua Ryan Owen but changed his first name to Jake to avoid confusion with Josh Turner and Josh Gracin after signing a record deal.

3. Faith Hill

Hill was born Audrey Faith Perry, but instead goes by her middle name and the surname of her first husband, Dan Hill.

4. Garth Brooks

The legend’s real name is Troyal Garth Brooks.

5. Gary LeVox

Rascall Flatts frontman Gary Levox was born Gary Wayne Vernon, Jr. “LeVox” actually translates to “the voice.” I shit you not.

6. Hank Williams, Sr.

Hank Williams was born with the name Hiram King Williams.

7. Hank Williams, Jr.

Hank Williams, Jr. — also known as Bocephus — was born Randall Hank Williams.

8. Jason Aldean

Jason Aldine Williams is the real name.

9. John Denver

“Thank God I’m a Country Boy” singer John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. You can see why they changed that last name.

10. LeAnn Rimes

LeAnn Rimes dropped her first name, Margaret, and goes instead by LeAnn, her middle name.

11. Luke Bryan

Superstar Luke Bryan was born Thomas Luther Bryan.

12. Randy Travis

The great Randy Travis was born Randy Bruce Traywick.

13. Shania Twain

Shania Twain, born Eilleen Regina Edwards, took the surname Twain from her stepfather.  Where did Shania come from? Nobody knows for sure.

14. Tim McGraw

Samuel Timothy McGraw was raised as Samuel Timothy Smith until the age of 11, when he learned the identity of his real father, major league pitcher “Tug” McGraw. He eventually shortened his name to Tim McGraw.

15. Conway Twitty

Legendary country artist Conway Twitty was born Harold Lloyd Jenkins.

16. Toby Keith

America-loving Toby Keith’s birth name is Toby Keith Covel.

17. RaeLynn

Racheal Lynn Woodward is the real name of Voice alum RaeLynn.

18. Dierks Bentley

Say hello to Frederick Dierks Bentley. Dierks opted to drop his first name in place of his middle name.

19. Thomas Rhett

As we know, Thomas is the son of songwriter and country artist Rhett Akins. Thomas went with his middle name, Rhett, maybe to avoid any confusion.

20. Cole Swindell

Cole was actually born Colden Rainey Swindell. I dunno about you, but I dig it.

21. Kid Rock

Mr. Rock was born Robert James Ritchie. Ol’ Bob Ritchie!

photo credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

A beer bottle on a dock


A beer bottle on a dock