I have had a fascination with guitars most of my life. I tinkered around with them in junior high and built miniature models of them from balsa wood while at college. Years later, I started building electric guitars and basses from scratch. I wanted to create guitars I saw in my head but could not buy. I moved to Kentucky in 1991. Not long after that, I developed an interest in bourbon and then the barrels it was made in. I am a woodworker, and recognized that each barrel head had its own unique character and identity. Then, one winter afternoon in 2012, while I warmed myself with a glass of bourbon after shovelling snow for hours, I gazed at one of my guitars through the rusted amber colored bourbon in my glass. I realized later, as the concept for building a guitar from a bourbon barrel began to resonate and fully form in my head, that the idea had been in the glass that afternoon.
To learn more about the origins of the Bourbon Barrel Guitar Company, check out the oral history interview below. The interview was conducted with Mike in August, 2015 for the Nunn Center’s Artists of Kentucky oral history project and uses a pretty cool search system. You should also browse the “news” and “blog” sections of the website.