baby name EmmylouThe baby name Emmylou makes for a sweet smoosh of a name with a little bit of country cool.

Thanks to Katie for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.


Em names top all the lists.

Emma ranked in the US Top Ten from 2002 onward, including six years in the #1 spot. Before that, Emily charted in the Top Ten from 1991 until 2016, spending twelve years at the very top.

As of 2020, Emma and Emily are still Top 100 staples, along with Emilia (#40) and Emery (#89).

As for the Lous? Luna and Lucy are favorites, but plenty of Lou/Lu names sound quite stylish today, too. And on the boys’ side, Lucas appears in the current Top Ten.

So sound-wise, the baby name Emmylou makes all the sense in the world, a combination of popular sounds.

And yet, Emmylou is actually relatively rare. It might be as obscure as other smoosh names – think Annagrace or Islarose – except for a singer.


Girls have been named Emmylou in small numbers over the years. Doubtless even more have answered to Emmylou.

But those numbers would be tiny without the singer Emmylou Harris. (Yes, it’s her given name.) Since the 1970s, Harris has earned 14 Grammys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Her eclectic style spans bluegrass and folk, country and rock. She was part of the Where Brother O Art There? soundtrack in 2000; her work appears on the soundtracks for Brokeback Mountain and Nights in Rodanthe. Harris has collaborated with everyone from Gram Parsons to Bob Dylan. She toured with Elvis Costello in the early 2000s.

And yet, somehow, she’s not quite a household name.

But there’s no question that Emmylou Harris’ career inspired parents to choose the baby name Emmylou.


Harris collaborated with Gram Parsons in the early 1970s. By 1976, she was earning Grammy and CMA nominations. And she just hasn’t quit since.

In 1978, the year after she won her first Grammy, 12 girls were given the baby name Emmylou.

The numbers ebbed and flowed for the next three decades. 22 girls in 1980; 7 in 1994; 29 in 2009.

But the numbers begin to climb over the last dozen years. In 2020, 78 girls were given the baby name Emmylou – a new high.


Two more recent songs titled “Emmylou” might also come to mind.

The first comes from Australian artist Vance Joy, released on his 2013 album.

There’s also Swedish duo First Aid Kit. Their 2012 song was inspired by Harris.


Nearly anyone having a baby now has lived their entire life during the career of Emmylou Harris.

The singer brings something to the song: integrity. Creative courage. Grace and grit.

She’s not a pop star, and her songs don’t shy away from difficult topics. (If you’ve never heard her work, start with “Red Dirt Girl.”)

Her artistry transforms the baby name Emmylou. It’s not just a random double name. Instead, it carries a certain Southern sensibility, a complete and meaningful choice.

Of course, it could certainly be short for something longer: Emma Louise, Emily Lucille, or something more extravagant. Emmeline Ludovica, maybe?

If you’re looking for a name that mixes a casual, country vibe with plenty of backbone, Emmylou could be your name

What do you think of the baby name Emmylou?

First published on March 4, 2015, this post was revised and re-posted on September 25, 2021.

baby name Emmylou

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Love this post!! I had a baby girl in 2017 and named her Emilou. I don’t regret my choice at all, in fact I love it even more. Everyone that meets her, just falls in love with her and her name. Its very fitting. She’s sweet and fiery ❤

  2. I’m not a fan of this name at all. With the nickname-y Emmy, the Lou on a girl, and the smoosh of them together — it’s very much a “hick” name to my ears.

  3. I’m the Katie that asked for this name to be featured. My husband and I got the name from George Strait’s song “Check Yes or No.” We’re pretty big George Strait fans. I would say that Emmylou is my husband’s top name. My top name he won’t agree to, Adele. I’ve liked that name since I saw “The Majestic” with Jim Carrey, long before the singer showed up, and I don’t even listen to current pop tunes. Anyhow, I would say my top two after Adele are Tessa (Tess) and Emmylou. I also like Adeline/Adelina but don’t really care for Madeline/Madison/Madelyn which are SO similar; nor do I like Addy/Addie and therefore Maddie. there will be so many Maddies and I don’t know if being called Addy/Addie can be avoided. I’m just not sure how I’d feel about that. I HATED being Katie L. growing up and always swore I would never name my children something so common. If I find a name I like and it’s under the top 50, it’s out. I would like to call her Leinie (line-ee) for short. I don’t like how Adeline sounds like Add-a-line. I do like the barbershop quartet song Sweet Adeline. Also, Adalida is a George Strait song that I always thought was Adelina, which is why I’m partial to that name too. I’m totally listening to the Vance Joy song that Nancy mentioned, which I had never heard before, nor had I heard of the artist, and now I’m crying. haha! It’s very sweet. The middle name would be Mae, which is my middle name and was my grandmother’s name who passed away while my dad was young. Mae is technically also on the list as a name. I kind of like Tessa Mae more than Emmylou Mae but I like the connection Emmylou had to my favorite music artist and the fact that my husband and I came up with it together. Mae is for certain though unless we name her Mae or June (also on the list) so if I like Tessa Mae more, and Mae is for certain it makes me think we should go with Tessa but I don’t know yet. Those would be two really cute sisters’ names. Haha! I’m pregnant with our first child, and it’s a girl. This comment was crazy rambling, sorry.

    1. Katie, thanks for sharing! I know what you mean about wanting a name that isn’t too popular. I think I do stumble on “Emmylou Mae” because it could be “Emmie Loumae” or “Emmy Lou Mae” and so on. But when a middle name has that much meaning, I think it’s worth it!

      Adalida is gorgeous! And yes, need to go listen to that George Strait song …

      1. Also, Tessa Mae sounds a bit like the shampoo TRESemme. But I could see me calling out the back door, “Tessa Mae!!!!!”

    2. Just two thoughts (neither criticisms, just observations)- since you seem to be bothered by common names, you should know (from the firsthand perspective of an Emily called Emmy exclusively most of my life due to there being multiple Emilys in the family), that the long popularity of Emily and Emma means there are a LOT of Emmys covering a wide range of ages out there. I love it as a name, but it is *extremely* popular in common use if not as a birth certificate name. Gotta differentiate between all those Emilys and Emmas somehow. She might be the only Emmylou she ever meats, but she’ll likely meet a lot of Emilys called Emmy.

      And also that Leinie is the common name of a brand of beer (Leinenkugel) that is very, very popular in the midwest, and spreading in availability. If you google “Leinie”, the entire first page of results are beer-related.
      Her nickname would definitely be remarked on if, say, she grows up and wants to go to the University of Wisconsin.

    3. I’m an Emma Louise whose name was inspired by, though not given for, Emmylou Harris. Personally, I’m glad my parents did not actually name me Emmylou, which I find too cutesy.

      What do you think of Emmaline/Emmeline?

      Growing up, I loved having a familiar but uncommon name (my own criteria used when I named my daughter Louisa), so I understand why you don’t want to go with anything too popular. I’d say something like Emmaline (or Emmeline) also straddles the line of being recognized but underused, and it would give you the nicknames of both Emmy and Leinie. Plus, I think Emmeline is a name that would grow well with a girl/woman; it doesn’t read as too juvenile or too mature.

      Good luck!

  4. Folks currently choosing Emmylou may have been inspired by that pretty Vance Joy song “Emmylou.” I think the album it’s on was released in 2013.

  5. I would probably go with Emma Louise and use Emmylou as the nickname. It’s a lovely combination either way, and I love Emmylou Harris! Or Emilia Lucille! Yes, that’s what I would use.

  6. Lou for Ludovica, is AmAAzzzing idea! I hadn’t thought of that as an option. I actually like Emmylou, it has a southern vibe. It reminds me of that CW show hart of Dixie, it has a Bluebell vibe. 🙂