Category: Western names
In the L.A. Times the other day, an article talked about prime-time television’s “reinvigorated love of the western, where projects are sprouting like cactus in the desert…and viewers may see the biggest glut of westerns since the genre’s heyday of the ‘60s.”
It was that heyday that incited the stampede of names that hadn’t been heard in a century onto the boys’ popularity lists of the 1950s, sixties and seventies, some of which are still riding tall in the saddle.
Some weeks, it feels like all of the birth announcements are from one big extended family.
Nameberry dubbed this style trend Iconoclastic Cowboy, and indeed, it does seem to be popular with parents everywhere. Wyatt and Colton are both in the US Top 100. For Real Baby Names spotted a crop of little cowpokes with names like Cayson Poe, Lathan West, and Adan Prayer in Connecticut – not exactly a place you associate with ranches and wranglers.
This week’s round-up of the nine most intriguing names begins in Manhattan:
Tristan – The Trump family is bigger by one, with Donald, Jr. and wife Vanessa welcoming Tristan Milos, a little brother for Donnie and Kai Madison. Tristan reads medieval romantic hero, but Brad Pitt’s star turn as Tristan in 1994’s Legends of the Fall transported the name from Arthurian legend to the rugged Montana wilderness.
From New York to L.A., Jenna Fischer and husband Lee Kirk welcomed a son named Weston Lee. I’d almost call Weston nouveau preppy rather than rugged, but his full name – Weston Lee Kirk – sounds right at home in boots and spurs.
Then there’s Nashville. We’d expect country music stars to give us names at home on the range, and they have:
Boone McCoy – Country crooner Eric Church and wife Katherine welcomed a son. Boone brings to mind American frontiersman Daniel Boone, as well as the word boon – blessing or bonus. As for McCoy, the surname brings to mind the phrase “the real McCoy” and implies authenticity. Yes, Boone McCoy Church sounds a little like a Dallas law firm, but it works.
Bloggers have embraced the style, too. Two of my favorite writers at Babble both have new boys with old west names.
Huck – Natalie Holbrook blogs about life with baby Huck. His full name is the impeccable classic Henry August. But the Mark Twain nickname takes this tot from his New York City home to the mighty Mississippi.
Is there such a thing as an Iconoclastic Cowgirl? Boy howdy, there is!
Brit – Baywatch alum David Chokachi and wife Susan are new parents to daughter Brit Madison. Britt is a Swedish short form of Bridget, and the mostly masculine Brett was used for one of Orry’s sisters in the best-selling North and South trilogy. Brit feels modern and tailored, but also tough.
Poet Poppin – Australian country singer Kasey Chambers has a brother called Nash and sons named Talon and Arlo Ray. Now Kasey and husband Shane Nicholson have welcomed a daughter called Poet Poppin. The literary Poet isn’t quite in this group, but paired with middle name Poppin, she sounds delightfully different, and equal to choices like Boone McCoy.
The ultimate Iconoclastic Cowboy name is coming soon to the big screen. The much-awaited reboot of Footloose opens next weekend. They’ve moved fictional Bomont from Utah to Tennessee, and invited country music stars to cover the movie’s iconic 80s pop soundtrack. Blake Shelton performs the cover song. It is tough to imagine anyone filling Kevin Bacon’s dancing shoes, but early reviews have been mostly positive. So let’s hear it for the character name: Ren.
Ren has never cracked the US Top 1000, but he’s been in steady use ever since the original Footloose debuted. He’s my pick for the movie name most likely to leap from the screen to the crib in 2012, the perfect blend of rugged and urban, a modern sound with roots – something that seems very much in demand, at least this week!
Names from television and movie Westerns sometimes got a lot more adventurous than Josh and Jesse. In fact, Westerns are responsible for reviving scores of antiquated classics that might otherwise have disappeared completely, along with introducing unconventional animal and word names as firsts. Some Western character names from the classic shows and movies of the 50s and 60s that sound fresh and new, if a bit quirky, today:
The newest Western names draw heavily on the place itself, or on Western-themed words. Some choices that have been used in the post-Bonanza world:
Cowboy names first galloped onto the scene in the 1950s and 1960s, along with the cool Western TV shows and movies of the era. A lot of these were Old Testament names that had not been heard much since, well, since the real Old West. Some of the early choices that launched a trend that’s still going strong:
BARNABY — Wagon Train
FLINT — Wagon Train
JASON — Wanted: Dead or Alive; Here Come the Brides
JEREMY — Here Come the Brides
JOSH — Wanted: Dead or Alive
JOSHUA — Here Come the Brides
LUCAS — Rifleman
MATT — Gunsmoke
SETH — Wagon Train
SIMON — Rawhide
Females and their names were in short supply in the Old West, split between hardy pioneer women and dance hall girls. Their names help you tell which was which:
BIDDIE — Here Come the Brides
CANDY –Here Come the Brides
KITTY — Gunsmoke
Tomorrow: Names for thoroughly modern cowbabies.