“[They’re] better than me — all of them,” he tells Billboard‘s Behind the Setlist podcast. Keyboard player Reese Wynans “gets a standing ovation every night,” says Bonamassa before a recent concert in Charlotte, N.C. “He gets the biggest ovation of the night. He’s a living legend [who has] played with Stevie Ray [Vaughan] and Delbert McClinton. He’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee [as a member of Vaughan’s band, Double Trouble]. Every band has to have a Hall of Famer. He’s our’s.”
Guitarist Josh Smith is a “better player than I am,” he continues. “He’s killer.” He calls both drummer Lamar Carter (Raphael Sadie, Demi Lovato) and bass player Calvin Turner (Marc Broussard, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews) “amazing” musicians. Backup singers Jade MacRae and Danni D’Andrea, who have worked with Liam Gallagher and Prince, respectively, are “saints” for tolerating his singing voice, he says self-effacingly.
The great musicians tend to attract talented musicians to their touring bands. That gives Bonamassa a superb cast to help re-create his songs and transform the studio recordings for the live setting. “We have some fun with it,” he says. “Bring it up, bring it down. Like in the case of ‘Self-Inflicted Wounds,’ our great vocalist Jade MacRae takes a vocal solo at the very end and it brings the house down.”