30 Country Artists & Their Real Names

Eric Church Koe Wetzel country music
Joe Pugliese/Jody Domingue

Oliver Anthony has taken the music (and political) world by storm.

Becoming the first artist ever to debut at #1 with a first charting song on the Billboard Hot 100, he’s catapulted himself into the limelight with a working-class, anti-politician anthem, “Rich Men North Of Richmond.”

And while Anthony himself says the song itself was an indictment against all politicians, regardless of party, Conservatives were quick to claim this song as their own, which in turn prompted a backlash from more Liberal folks.

So much so that people started to question the legitimacy of Oliver, calling him an industry plant, which was somehow given credence when it was revealed that “Oliver Anthony” was a stage name (he explained why).

But here’s the thing… TONS of country artists use stage names.

Yep, some of your favorite country singers don’t go by their real names. Some opt to use their middle name, some came up with something out of left field (looking at you Gary LeVox), and others, well… it’s not hard to see why they found a name more suitable for the stage.

Here are 30 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

Rascal Flatts frontman Gary Levox was born Gary Wayne Vernon, Jr. “LeVox” actually translates to “the voice” in French. I sh*t 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. Patsy Cline

Virginia Patterson Hensley is the real name of the country icon.

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. Kix Brooks

Kix is a great name, but it’s not real. Leon Eric Brooks III is his real name.

21. Kid Rock

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

22. Gary Allan

Gary Allan Herzberg… shortened it.

23. Cody Jinks

Cody’s was born Meredith Cody Jinks.

24. Carly Pearce

Carly Cristyne Slusser is the Kentucky native’s real name.

25. Koe Wetzel

His real name is Ropyr Madison Koe Wetzel, and back in the day, he went by Ropyr.


The eclectic artist and songwriter was born Michael Wilson Hardy.

27. Cole Swindell

The “She Had Me At Head Carolina” singer’s was born Colden Rainey Swindell.

28. Wynonna Judd

Wynonna Judd, born Christina Claire Ciminella actually credits the song “Route 66” and the town of Wynona, Arizona for her stage name. She also took her mother’s name because her real last name sounded like “salmonella.”

29. Randy Houser

Randy was born Shawn Randolph Houser, and I think we can all agree that “Randy” has a little more grit to it.

30. Oliver Anthony

Oliver’s real name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford, however Oliver is a tribute to his grandfather.

“My grandfather was Oliver Anthony, and “Oliver Anthony Music” is a dedication not only to him, but 1930’s Appalachia where he was born and raised.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock