b. 1955, Washington, DC, USA. Born into a large family (he has 12 siblings), Roach did not take up the guitar until he was out of his teens. He developed quickly and applied his playing and his singing to traditional country blues, which he found to be the ideal vehicle for expressing his musical needs and ideas. In 1985 he met John Jackson and John Cephas, both of whom advised and encouraged him. Roach also met and was tutored by veteran musicians Archie Edwards and Turner Foddrell. From the late 80s into the early 90s, Roach was President of the DC Blues Society, and was co-founder of the Federal City Blues Connection.
Although he can still be heard live in the USA from time to time, in 1995 Roach took up residence in the UK. In 2000 he toured Europe, including several concerts in duo with Jackson. In 2003, Roach was on the American Festival Of The Blues tour of the UK. Roach has worked and sometimes recorded with artists such as Bernie Marsden, while his own sidemen live and on record include blues harpist Ian Briggs, keyboard player Danny McCormack, saxophonist Paul Corry, guitarist George ‘Jackie’ Lee, bass player Roger Inniss, drummer Sam Kelly and bones player Lenny Davies. In addition to performing, Roach has also conducted clinics and workshops in the USA, the UK and elsewhere. Venues for his teaching and lectures include the Smithsonian Institute in his home town, Oxford University, and the University of Metz. Roach was also heard on radio in 2003 when he presented Deep Blue, a three-part series for BBC Radio 4. He is also Director of the European Blues Association Incorporating the Archive of African American Music, which is based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.