Name Help: Newborn Boy Needs a Name

Country Cool Boy Names

Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.

We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!

R writes:

Our newborn son doesn’t have a birth certificate yet, and I feel horrible about it! Name purgatory? Completely understand the term.

My husband and I have a daughter together named Paisley.

I love names that were popular in the 1800s. Classic, country, and unique. I also want it to sound lovely, it will be used in this old house more often than butter …

Here are the names I like:

Beau – Paisley’s favorite, she calls him her little beau

Foster – Foster does seem to suit him, for now while he’s little. I love the meaning.

Holton/Holt or Holden

James – family name




I love soft names like Noah and Joshua and handsome names like Tristan and Austin. I’m not opposed to using his middle name as his preferred name or using initials to incorporate three names, like JW Foster.

My husband likes strong, assertive names. I’m afraid they feel too harsh. A little more like he’s naming a bull rider than a gentleman cowboy! 😉 Here’s his list:









Kind heartfelt thanks for the rescue!

Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Dear R. –

Congratulations on the birth of your son! Sometimes it just plain takes a little longer to find The Name than we’d like, doesn’t it? You’re definitely not the first parent to look at your baby and come up blank.

The good news? I think you and your husband do have some overlap in your lists. Or, at least, I could swap names from your list and his list with ease. At first I kept getting stuck on this phrase: classic, country, and unique. Because it’s difficult to find a name that feels both unique and classic, right?

So let’s re-frame the way we talk about your ideal name:

  • Nothing invented, but nothing too traditional, either. I can imagine you choosing James somewhere in your son’s name … but not as a first.
  • You’ve mentioned liking softer names, and I’d agree that Noah and Joshua fit that description. But so do Hayden and Raylan. I’m not sure where to set the needle on the soft/tough dial, so let’s move on for now.
  • Thinking about Paisley, I’d add a name that feels familiar, but wasn’t popular in the past. That makes it fresh and new for this generation.

That’s a little bit clearer, isn’t it?

From your lists, I’d keep:

  • Beau – especially because your daughter already uses it as an affectionate nickname for her brother
  • Foster – the meaning is great, and I think it will wear nicely on a child or an adult
  • Tyson – one of the softer sounding names on his list, especially with the nickname Ty
  • Knox – the sound might be a bit rougher, but there’s a lot to love about Knox, especially the association with treasure

Let me add just a few more:

Hayes – Since he has Hayden and Raylan on his list, but you have Rawlins and James, would Hayes split the difference? It’s a little on the softer side, but still feels plenty rugged.

Briggs – Again, I’m drawing from Rawlins on your list, but also the sounds your husband seems to favor.

Lawson – A two-syllable, ends-with-n name that’s not too common, Lawson still feels familiar.

Paxton – Daxton is a recent invention, but Paxton has history galore. The surname name has Old English roots, but many see it today and think of the Latin pax – peace.

Houston – Austin is on your list, but would another place name appeal more to your husband? Houston has a big, bold sound – and a reputation to match! There’s also Dallas, of course.

You might also like this list of Rustic Chic baby names, including Boone, Twain, Grange, and Reeve.

But I think it’s time to work on combinations, and choosing an actual name that you can both love!

My top suggestion: Tyson Beau, called Beau. One of your husband’s favorites takes the first name spot, but his everyday use name is one that you – and your daughter – love.

I also like the idea of:

  • Hayes Colton – Though this one almost comes straight from your husband’s list!
  • Knox Foster – A good compromise, I think, and Paisley and Knox sound great together.
  • Beau Paxton – Or, really, Beau Daxton. That bright ‘o’ sound and the ‘x’ make this combination memorable!
  • Lawson Briggs – A combination that’s equal parts soft and harsh, but pleasing overall.

Again, I think your lists aren’t so far apart – it’s just tough to close that final gap between your favorites and his! I do think you’d both love Beau, if only because the story around it is so sweet. If your husband is on board with Beau, either as a middle or a first, I’d encourage you to revisit his favorites. Beau Tyson, Beau Daxton, Paxton Beau, Beau Hayden … there’s lots of potential there!

As for James, if having a family name is important, I think your idea of having three names is great: James Beau Paxton, Lawson Briggs James, or Tyson Beau James, maybe? They all work!

Readers, we need your help! What’s the perfect compromise name for their little gentleman cowboy?

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Wow… great job! Thank you for getting this out there and for everyone who has shared their thoughts… I see where I was sending mixed signals “classic and unique”, but I think you understood completely-
I’d love to blow the dust off of a sparsely used name from days gone by. One that has a vague familiarity about it… Like- Pleasant. (Somehow I don’t think that’s rough and tumble enough for my husband although it certainly suits the little man’s extremely happy nature!)…

Tyson Beau – on its own, Tyson made me think of a boxer, but paired with Beau, it’s fantastic!
Foster Knox – love this too
All of them actually! The two styles together really give the names some distinguished punch. The sounds roll so nicely.
Lots to think about

I have a soft spot for Clayton due to a college friend. And Clay is a great nickname.

Justified introduced me to and got me to like the name Raylan. It feels very modern cowboy to me as a consequence. And Raylan could easily be Ray.

I think both names go well with Foster as a middle. Clayton Foster. Raylan Foster. Or with James as a first. James Clayton (JC). James Raylan (JR). Further, they seem like natural sibling names to Paisley. Paisley and Raylan. Paisley and Clayton.

Good luck choosing a name for your little one!

So many GREAT suggestions so far!
Really like alot of them, including Beau, Holden and Dwight! You don’t meet many Dwights
But would also like to suggest:
Sterling (Love this)
Or Perhaps Duke for that country vibe? John Wayne …
Cash (like Johnny)
Current singers? Deirks, Toby, Eric, Walker

Looking at both mom and dad’s list, the name that strikes me is Wilder. It feels rugged, fresh, and of course evokes the classic feeling of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It also goes nicely with James or Beau as a middle name! Congratulations and good luck.

Oh I agree, Wilder and Paisley sound really cute! And Wilder Beau or Wilder James are both great!… one more vote for Wilder here 🙂

Love Beau, Knox, Lawson and Hayes although I think Hayes may sound to similar to Paisley.

If Paisley calls him Beau, maybe Bowen with NN Bo? A friend of mine just used it and I love it.

Holden and Holt are great and make me think of Hutton?

I agree with Abby, a first name from.his list and a middle name of Beau. But I would also suggest Newton! It fits his style but it has that soft quality about it, plus it’s the name of a main character from Lonesome Dove, so it has that country connection

I like Beau, Hayes, Foster and Tyson for you. Also Dwight holds some appeal. Dwight James, nn DJ.

Additional suggestions:

I love Tyson Beau or Tyson James Beau!! Tyson is strong sounding and the softer nickname Ty brings that mix of strong-handsome with a softer side. There are a lot of great combo options here-
Tyson James Beau
Tyson Beau James
Tyson Foster James
Tyson-James Foster
Only one new name to suggest-
Ryder James Beau
I think having 3 names is a good option since you’re having trouble deciding and that leaves more options for you down the road..

I’ve totally been where you are!! One of our babies came home without a name. Naming is hard and not always a cut and dry decision… choose a name that you love! (or some of the names you love) 🙂
I also love strong names with a soft side for boys. Btw- We almost named our first son Beau but ended up naming him Luke. (Luke is probably too popular for your list tho). 🙂
Congratulations on your son and I hope that you find a name combo you love!!

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