Fingerstyle guitar virtuoso Eric Roche was born in New York City on December 4, 1967, but raised in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. He studied classical guitar in his youth but ultimately developed his own unique style, honing a percussive approach to polyphonic technique that embraced elements of folk, country, pop, and traditional Irish music. Despite his passion for guitar, Roche nevertheless earned a degree in accounting, and practiced briefly while living in London during the early '90s. In 1992, however, he traded in his suit and tie to study at the Musicians' Institute, and four years later was named head of its guitar department.
Roche issued his debut LP, The Perc U Lator, in 1999 to great acclaim. A year later, he accepted the position of head of guitar at Guildford's Academy of Contemporary Music, but in 2001 found time to release his sophomore effort, Spin. He also wrote regular columns on fingerstyle performance for the magazines Guitar Techniques and Acoustic, and headlined master classes and workshops on three continents. In 2004 Roche signed to the P3 label to issue his third album, With These Hands, and that same year released his book The Acoustic Guitar Bible; both achievements were tempered by the beginning of a battle with cancer, the illness that claimed his life on September 6, 2005.