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Gulf Weekly Bahrain Interview

Ambitious band The Boxtones, who developed a massive local following during a two-year stint providing the entertainment at a hotel's brunch on the island, have a new album out on a major label and hope to follow in the chart-topping footsteps of former Bahrain schoolboy James Arthur.

The former British School of Bahrain pupil's album, called Back from the Edge, sold thousands of copies, beating artists like Elvis Presley and Michael Buble to reach Number One in the UK charts, and the group, featuring two former St Christopher's School students, celebrate the launch of their recording Home by opening the show for the legendary Elton John in Dubai.

Singer and guitarist Gary Tierney said: "We started our international careers in Bahrain. My sister Gill, who plays drums in the band, and I, grew up in Bahrain. We have so many fond memories of the place.

"We even started our first band there. The Boxtones came together after years of working, gigging and meeting the right blend of people to create a great act we all love.

"Much like James Arthur kicked it off in Bahrain, we hope to emulate that success in the Middle East and further afield, and we hope that the people of Bahrain enjoy our album, and come to our shows so they can see for themselves how much we appreciate them.

"Home - a self-titled song from the album of the same name - is all about being an expat and calling where you hang your hat 'home'/ The Gulf is full of so many different cultures, with such transient communities, yet for us, we call it home. It's about travel, excitement, living somewhere new and experiencing what the world has to offer."

Alongside Gary and Gill, whose parents Brian and Lynn live in Awali, The Boxtones include lead vocalist Louise Peel, keyboard player Will Janssen and Patrick Thibault on bass.

They are signed to Universal Music and the new recording features 10 original tracks and follows the release of 'In the Pockets of Clowns' which was mainly a collection of older material. "The label wanted a new album, and wanted it professionally done obviously - so we got stuck in and wrote Home over the course of the next five months," explained Gary. "We then went into the studio and spent a further six months recording.

"The album to us just sounds amazing, and it's thanks to the time we took, the patience and deliberate time taking to record it, using real musicians for strings and brass, a rapper, a children's choir, stomps, claps and the thousand other nuances we captured on the album, to make it really shine. We are all really proud of it.

"We took a lot of time writing these songs, and really went into the nitty-gritty of capturing the energy each track had in our minds. As a songwriter, I kind of had most of the songs in my head already, and the band added their styles to it to bring out things in the tracks I hadn't thought of, that makes the arrangement, or the solo, or the lick, or riff, or whatever, truly 'Boxtonian'.

More than a thousand devoted fans in Bahrain turned up for a farewell performance at the Diplomat before The Boxtones moved to Dubai.

The band will open for Elton John on January 20th at the Autism Rocks Arena. The post-Christmas show is part of the star's Wonderful Crazy Night world tour and, amazingly, his first live show in Dubai.

Last weekend The Boxtones were entertaining visitors to the Rugby Sevens, there's talks of an appearance at Jazz Fest 2017, gigs at Dubai Arena, a potential tour of Europe and they will be starting work on their next album which is likely to be released by the end of 2017.

Home is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Anghami, Spotify, Deezer, the band's VEVO/YouTube page and Virgin Megastores. It's also available on hundreds of other digital platforms and streaming services around the world.