Toulouse Engelhardt

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Toulouse Engelhardt, (born April 14, 1951, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an acoustic guitarist, recording artist, and was the last member of the Takoma Seven. The Takoma Seven was a group of finger style guitarists who recorded for Takoma Records from 1959-1976. Both John Fahey and Leo Kottke were his label mates.(6) It was this group of finger style guitarists that brought about a subsequent resurgence in the acoustic guitar movement that is still evidenced today. During his career, Engelhardt has been noted for his work by Guitar Player Magazine in their Reader's Poll nomination for Best Acoustic Finger Style Guitarist. He was the Silver Medal Winner of the Winter Equinox Award at the Virgin Island Film Festival. He was also awarded Best Jazz Artist at the Orange County Music Awards(4) and is listed in the 100 Most Distinguished Guitarists of 2011.(3)


Toulouse Engelhardt's birth name is Thomas Lloyd Engelhardt, and is the younger of two sons of Alan U. and Arlene L. Engelhardt. After moving to the west coast, first to San Francisco in 1953, his family migrated south to Hermosa Beach, California and in 1956 finally settled in Palos Verdes Estates, California where he graduated from Palos Verdes High School in 1969.(7) Toulouse developed his first interest in the study of the guitar at the age of six when he was exposed to the reverb-soaked, wet, driving instrumental sounds of surf music that were prominent in southern California beach culture. Though his earliest influences were these sounds, he soon found these initial influences limiting and subsequently pursued other musical styles and techniques. Though he is not formally trained in guitar technique or music theory, Engelhardt did receive impromptu lessons from two established jazz guitarists of the 1960s; Wes Montgomery and Larry Carlton. (2)(6) His first guitar lesson was from jazz guitarist, Larry Carlton, who taught him how to play "Walk Don't Run" by The Ventures. Then, during the summer of 1966, at the age of fifteen, Engelhardt was given a few tips in technique by legendary jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery while they were at the backstage door of the Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach, California.(2)(6)

Music career[edit]

Engelhardt's first meaningful break in the music industry came in 1973 when he was booked as a support act for The Byrds' final American tour. (6) He later signed his first major record contract with Briar/Sierra Records in 1975, a subsidiary of Takoma Records. After the release of his first album, he became disillusioned by his experiences in the music industry and took a ten year sabbatical and returned to college to pursue two academic degrees in the natural sciences. In the early 1990s he was awarded a Master's Degree from California State University, Fullerton, in botany. He has held an adjunct Professor of Biology position at three community colleges in Southern California. In 1993, with the re-release of Toullusions, he was rediscovered by the world of instrumental guitar fans and ultimately returned to performing, composing and recording works for solo guitar.(2) He was one of only a few solo acoustic finger style guitarists to have been signed by a major recording company when he signed with Hollywood Records in 1993, a Walt Disney Company distributed internationally by Polygram Inc. Compositions by Engelhardt are difficult to classify. Each selection is arranged for either six string or twelve string acoustic guitar, or Mosrite electric guitar. Every song composed and arranged by Engelhardt is created in a tone poem writing style. His works are impressionistic with a cinematic technique, used by only a few composers and arrangers. For years, music critics have sought to classify the Toulouse Sound, which is a mixture of musical stylings based in traditional Americana, including acoustic blues, ragtime and devotion, integrated with surf sounds of the early 60's beach culture.

Awards and Achievements[edit]

Guitar Player magazine Readers Poll Nomination for Best Acoustic Finger Style Guitarist (1976–1980) Silver Medal Winner at the Virgin Islands Film Festival for "Winter Equinox" Motion Picture Soundtrack (1978) Orange County Music Awards winner of the Best Jazz Artist (2011) 100 Most Distinguished Guitarists of 2011

Personal life[edit]

Toulouse has been married only once, to Sally Georgeson, on June 17, 1978. He and Sally have two daughters; Lauren Talia Engelhardt, born August 14, 1984, and Lindsey Taryn Engelhardt, born April 5, 1987.



Toullusions (1976) Sierra/Briar/Takoma

Winter Equinox Soundtrack (1978) Festival Records

Toullusions (1994) Hollywood/Disney/Polygram International

Acoustic Guitar Highlights Vol. 3 (1995) Solid Air Records

A Child's Guide to Einstein (2004) Lost Grove Arts

Martian Lust (2006) Lost Grove Arts

Perpendicular Worlds (2009) Lost Grove Arts

Acoustic Guitar Highlights (2011) Solid Air Records

Toulousology (2012) Lost Grove Arts


1. ^ Toulouse Engelhardt official website ( 2. ^ Eisner,Ken, (Dec. 2010), "Toulouse Engelhardt", Pages: 54-56. Guitar Player Magazine. 3. ^ 4. ^ 5. ^ Simon, Lauren, (May,2012). Rock On!, Laguna Beach Magazine. 6. ^ Moseley, Willie G., (Nov. 2010), "Toulouse Engelhardt 12 Strings for Sci/Fi and Surf", Page:17, Vintage Guitar Magazine. 7. ^ Collins, Peggy "Famous Palos Verdes High School Alumni", Palos Verdes Memories, Facebook.

External links[edit]

Toulouse Engelhardt official website (