Zan McLeod started his career in the early ‘70s playing southern rock on his guitar. His first forays into the Irish music scene started back in 1979, when he and North Carolina singer/ songwriter Mike Cross visited Nashville during a tour from their Chapel Hill home base. In Nashville, they met Triona NiDhomnaill of the legendary Bothy Band. That introduction led Triona and Zan to form the innovative and groundbreaking band Touchstone. Together they recorded and toured for 5 years, and Touchstone’s The New Land won the NAIRD award for best Indie album of 1981.
Zan went on to receive many more music industry accolades, including his collaboration on: Grammy winning CD, Celtic Solstice with Paul Winter; Grammy nominated CDs Journey With The Sun (Paul Winter and the Earth Band), and The Long Journey Home (with the Chieftains). Zan’s self-recorded solo album, Highland Soul won a WAMMIE in 1995, leading him to pursue a simultaneous career as musician and audio engineer. After graduating from the Omega School of Recording, he established his own home studio, Tonehouse Recording, in the Washington, DC area.
Along with recording on nearly 150 CDs, Zan has also recorded on several film soundtracks including: Edward Burns’s The Brothers McMullen, Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil, Sam Shepard’s Far North, and James Horner’s Back to Titanic.
As a respected and experienced workshop leader and instructor, Zan has taught for years at the Augusta Heritage Center’s Irish/Celtic Week, Boston College’s Gaelic Roots Program, McDaniel College’s Common Ground, and he helped found Warren Wilson College’s The Swannanoa Gathering. And in 2001, Zan released the instructional video, Learn to Play the Irish Bouzouki, for Homespun Tapes.
Zan won the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant in 2005, 2012, and again in 2014.