JJ Byars


JJ Byars is a folk & rock musician, songwriter, saxophonist, and fiction writer based in NYC.

He comes from years of touring as a founding member and saxophone player for the acclaimed soul rock band, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, and has been an active sideman and bandleader in the NYC music scene for multiple projects. He also releases music under the moniker Hungry Hands. You can find him currently playing with bands: Kim Anderson, MAGAÑA (Jeni Magaña of Mitski), Glowalker, Johnny Butler, and collaborating with Jonathan Smith (The Can't Tells) and Kellen Harrison (Hurray for the Riff Raff, Wilde Belle).

His music has appeared in several TV programs and video games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater.

JJ’s recent fiction writing awarded him a 2019 SLS Fellowship and he was recently selected as a semi-finalist for the 2019 Nimrod Literary Awards. 

NEW Hungry Hands album “Clear Lens” was released May 17th, 2019 on Great Shapes Records.





JJ new promo 3.jpg




by JJ Byars

Clear Lens

by Hungry Hands

Plumb Restless

by Hungry Hands



Oblique indie rock that tumbles into sweetly abstract contortions. Full of shape-shifting yet accessible arrangements that echo Grizzly BearRadiohead and Jeff Buckley.

-- Pandora Blog, 2018

“Last 9 is a track off Hungry Hands’ new album Clear Lens, channeling a mixture of thunderous alternative-rock and Beatlesesque vocal melodies… ‘Last 9’ does well in showing the band’s climatic, rock-forward guitar work, as well as their fondness for accessibly hooky vocal melodies.”

-- Obscure Sound

"...Migrations' is a song that can make your day, with it's celestial melody that defies gravity and expectations." 

"This track, together with opener, 'Blue in the Face' showcases a songwriting development towards elegant pop melodies and arrangements reminiscent of a sparser version of Grizzly Bear, while most of the other songs on the record reveal more folky overtones." 

-- Deli Magazine


“Having become a regular on the New York City scene, JJ Byars sets his sights on even bigger things with “Toys.” Clocking in at just under five minutes, it’s a rich, explorative, ode to impermanence that pulls from a whole variety of genres, while defying them altogether, with JJ’s lush vocals coming set against a backdrop of country-style chicken pickin’ guitars, before handclaps and other percussive elements enter to carry the song to its dynamic climax.”

— We Are The Guard


"A Captivating new voice at his best on the acoustic side of things."

--KBUT, 90.3FM


"A collection of bitter sweet melodic laments that shine with a blistering hope, tied to minor chordal changes and percussive elements that can just make your heart skip a beat." 


"All the while the focus on lyrics and vocals make this a powerful sound for Byars, showing us the true writer in him, this would be the best depiction of when a band leader goes solo, you feel at moments he is in the room with you, singing for you..." 


"On songs like “Brother,” Byars chants, “Make it last, make it last, because this life is too fast.” The minimalistic layering of organ and light lead guitars add a subtle depth to an otherwise acoustic guitar driven album, think The Snake The Cross The Crown meets Sunny Day. Overall the deviation if you’d even call it that, from the Hungry Hands sound, is a great refreshing angle, it’s very JJ..."