Gary Devlin

Gary Devlin: “Waves”

We’ll never deny the merits of lyrical therapy. Then again, the staying power and worldwide accessibility of meditative genres like classical and jazz has little to do with curated words. And more often than not with that universality, comes positivity.

Cut to El Paso-born, Arlington-based songwriter-guitarist Gary Devlin. Sure, Gary’s got the makings of a great singer, as heard on his 2016 debut Pick Your Heart’s Desire, but he also appreciates the intrinsic power of letting his six-string do the talking for him. That’s no doubt thanks to Devlin’s upbringing in a golden age of rock composition, when Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Zeppelin, and the too-many-to-list rest were the standard for quality songwriting. The way he sees it? Why put a perimeter around genres when you can make your mission statement “feel good pop rock”?

Well, to get the ball rolling on his as-of-yet-untitled 2024 LP, last Friday Devlin imparted some of those lessons onto a sans-lyric love song. And because it’s inspired by that-most complicated emotions, this sprawling five-minute instrumental doesn’t really stick to one lane. Instead “Waves” weaves smooth acoustic guitar jazz with ’70s-inspired prog rock that doesn’t pause until a final cathartic repose.