Adjust the Sails’ third EP, “You Asked For It,” spans less than 12 minutes, but in those minutes, singer-songwriter Shane Hurst harnesses 25 years of life experience to explore the themes of heartbreak, suicide, long-distance relationships and self-medicating.
While the lyrics and subject matter are at times explicit, the Chesapeake High School alumnus hopes the messages will resonate with listeners who can appreciate his authenticity and his growth as a musician.
“I would sit there and be as overly poetic as possible,” Hurst said of his early songwriting process. “Now, I’ll sit down and just write what comes to mind. It’s more simplistic, but it’s relatable.”
Citing Taking Back Sunday, My Chemical Romance, and Blink 182 as some of his influences during his garage band days at Chesapeake, Hurst now gravitates toward modern pop-punk bands Neck Deep and Modern Baseball. But he wants to create a sound unique to Adjust the Sails.
Hurst released the first EP for his acoustic solo project, Adjust the Sails, in February 2015. Titled “‘Til Death Do Us Part,” the album is brooding but beautiful. Hurst followed it with “I’m Not Okay, But It’s Okay” in May 2018, singing melancholy lyrics over brighter chord progressions than those featured in Hurst’s debut. “You Asked For It” came in February 2019, featuring Steven Haller on drums.
Hurst’s newest four-song release starts with a more upbeat version of the song “You’ll Be Okay,” which appeared on “‘Til Death Do Us Part.” In the song, Hurst sings, “See there’s lessons to be learned, like you should hope and not self-hate, but I know dear loving princess this is not how you think. Some find comfort in the dissonance while others just find pain, so please just know my dear that everything will be OK, you’ll be OK.”
The second track is “How Not to Pick Up Girls on the Internet.” The song was inspired by a conversation Hurst had with a friend.
“How funny would it be to write a song from the perspective of an internet-thirsty dude, basically about how not to act toward women?” Hurst explained.
The other two songs are “Pineknob,” inspired by Haller’s friend who took his own life, and “Georgia,” which reflects on a long-distance relationship.
“I’ll drive until my gas light comes on, then I’ll drive a little while longer,” Hurst sings in “Georgia.”
Georgia is also Hurst’s new home. After spending nearly his whole life in Pasadena, he moved to Atlanta in February 2019, quickly booking gigs in Pensacola, Florida, and the states surrounding Georgia.
The music scene offers a stark contrast from Maryland, he said.
“The Maryland scene is mostly metal, ska or hip-hop,” he said. “Here, there’s a lot more acts like me. It’s a little more fun-loving.”
A newly hired booking agency will help him plan a tour taking him through college towns. Listeners can find his music on Spotify, Bandcamp, iTunes and other music platforms.
Hurst is working on a full-length Adjust the Sails album that, being longer than 12 minutes, will still pack an emotional punch.
“Music is my form of self-therapy. I stopped self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, and in term, started medicating myself with musical expression,” Hurst said. “Whenever I feel down, I just pick up my guitar, play some chords or melodies and talk out/sing out what’s bugging me.”