New York blues guitarist Bill Perry dead at 49

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blues guitarist Bill Perry, who was discovered by Woodstock folk legend Richie Havens, has died, his label Blind Pig Records reported on Wednesday.

He was 49.

According to Greg Schwark, Perry’s road manager, the musician was found at his apartment in Sugar Loaf, New York, on Tuesday. Emergency medical personnel tried to revive him, but he died en route to the hospital of an apparent heart attack, although no official cause of death has been determined.

Perry first made his mark in the clubs of New York City in the 1980s, where he was spotted by Havens. Perry spent four years on the road as the featured guitarist in Havens’ band.

During the same period, he also toured with the Band’s Garth Hudson and Levon Helm.

Perry was an outstanding guitarist who also had a distinctive, raspy voice that was suited to blues music.

“He was a natural. He could sing the phone book and draw you in,” said labelmate Popa Chubby, who produced Perry’s last two albums for Blind Pig.

Havens said in a statement: “Billy was a great friend, a truly gifted guitar player, and one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. Our times on the road together were some of the best times I’ve ever had.”

Havens recorded an acoustic duet version of the Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations” with Perry that appeared on Perry’s 2002 album “Crazy Kind of Life.”

Perry is survived by his son, Aaron, 25, three brothers and a sister.