Jam on: What our professors are listening to

music-900x600In honor of Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize, we asked UNC Kenan-Flagler faculty to share what they’re listening to.


Strategy and entrepreneurship professor Arv Malhotra compiles a playlist for a mailing list of 100 friends.

I am an absolute AltRock/IndiePop music addict. I listen to music for up to 4-5 hours a day. It helps me focus on my work – whether it is writing up my research, doing data analysis or preparing for class. My friends have always relied on me to make mix tapes (in the ’80s), and now I send them a playlist every month or so. My kids share my passion, which is all the more reason that I am always hunting for new music.

I listen to drive-time radio streams from KCRW and KROW. I also scan and preview the Radio Wave Monitor and BDS Alternative charts at the beginning of the weekend. Coachella, Austin City Limits and SXSW are events that are a big feeder for my “what’s next” quest.

Finally, the biggest test for whether a song makes it to my playlist is whether my 11-year-old and 3-year-old sons love it. We listen to my playlist together every morning on our way to drop-off at school and every evening when playing in the toy room.

Here’s part of a recent playlist:

“Wow” by Beck
Beck is an absolute genius and innovator. Indie music would not be the same without Beck. I remember his first song, “Loser.” It got overplayed on the radio and everyone said that he was a one-hit wonder – but here we are two decades later. Every time I think Beck can’t come up with something new, I am proven wrong.

“Move” by Saint Motel
A fast-rising IndiePop group from my hometown, Los Angeles. Music writers have had a great deal of difficulty fitting Saint Motel into a box, which is what I love about them. My 3-year-old wants me to play this over and over again.

“Beverly Laurel” by Tame Impala
Tame Impala is a psychedelic rock group from Oz. There is nothing quite like Tame Impala’s sound on the airwaves. Growing up, INXS was one of my favorite bands and from Oz, so I was always on the lookout for a new Ozzie band. Tame Impala came into the picture in 2008.

“Roll Up” by Fitz and the Tantrums
Another band from my hometown. As IndiePop as they come. This song is featured in NFL Madden 17.

“This Girl” by Kungs and Cookin’ on 3 Burners
A great example of global collaboration that is possible in this day and age. Kungs (a French electronic music group) and Cookin’ on 3 burners (Ozzie funk trio) teamed up to come up with a rather catchy song from summer. This one has stayed on my playlist because of my kids – they can’t stop dancing to it.

“Talk too Much” by COIN
A pop-rock quartet from Nashville.

“High and Low” by Empire of the Sun
Another new favorite from Oz. Their electronic music has some ’80s flavor, which makes me nostalgic – yet it is a fresh sound for 2016.

“Bad Decisions” by Two Door Cinema Club
IndieRock from an Irish band. Music critics label them “post-punk revival.”

“101” by Wall
Another IndieRock group from Los Angeles. If only you knew how many hours I have spent driving while listening to 101, you’d know what the song means to me.

“Bury It” by CHVRCHES
CHVRCHES – a Scottish synth pop band – is awesome. This group symbolizes the musical movement in Europe that combines inditronica, electronic dance and Indie pop.


rp-posterFinance professor Christian Lundblad digs the classics.

Anyone who spends any time in my office will see a large poster of Sinatra, Dean and Sammy on my wall. While those guys are clearly having a heck of a time in this photo, I am actually drawn to Sinatra’s more personal music. His 1955 album “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” is as painful a listen as there is. Not only is this Sinatra at his vocal best (no Rat Pack campy stuff here), this is particularly true when you know what he was going through recording these songs at that point in his life. His first marriage had recently failed and he was deep in a volatile, up-and-down relationship with his second wife (North Carolina’s own Ava Gardner). That relationship ultimately failed as well, but many who knew them both thought that neither ever got over it. When you are feeling blue, spend a moment with Frank and this album. Turn the lights down, make an old-school martini and suffer through it together.


UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

The Good ole Boys Plus Girl

Strategy and entrepreneurship professor Al Segars plays piano, acoustic and electric bass guitar, but is “best on banjo.” He plays in two bands: bluegrass and roots group Good ole Boys Plus Girl with UNC Kenan-Flagler colleagues Dave Hartzell and Patrick Vernon, and 15-501, which performs contemporary acoustic guitar music.

My recent musical discovery is Sarah Jarosz. Sarah is an honors graduate of the Berklee College of Music and combines roots, bluegrass and original song writing in a form that is unique and musically interesting. Her songs have a great range of influences, and she is very accomplished as a vocalist and musician. Her live shows are some of the best – great musicianship – and draw other prominent musicians (Paul McCartney and Elton John have attended her shows). She is frequently featured on “A Prairie Home Companion.” She is a fantastic artist.


UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

An impromptu jam session with professors Dave Hartzell, Al Segars and Patrick Vernon.

Mandolin is the preferred instrument of real estate professor Dave Hartzell. He’s trying to learn how to play his Tres Cubano guitar, which he picked up in Cuba when he took students on a Global Immersion Elective. He also plays acoustic guitar, banjo and some piano – “but not well,” he says.

I was an old school, classic rock guy until my son invited me to go to MerleFest, a famous bluegrass festival, many years ago. I was blown away by the quality and breadth of the music, as well as the friendliness of the musicians. We have been going every year since then. My wife and kids got me a mandolin from the festival and gave it to me for Father’s Day. I remember thinking I would never have time to learn how to play it, but once I had it I was addicted. We have a mostly faculty band called the Good Ole’ Boys Plus One Girl and we’ve been playing at fundraisers around town and have had some paying gigs, too. The bluegrass musicians that I follow are many, but the ones I like best are Sam Bush (and the Sam Bush Band), Tim O’Brien (and Hot Rize, his band), Bela Fleck and, for old school bluegrass, the Earls of Leicester (a tribute to bluegrass pioneers Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs). For variety and to hear new artists, XM radio 62 is the bluegrass station you’ll listen to if you’re ever in my car.


Accounting professor Brad Hendricks is into a little bit of everything – from The Boss to Broadway.

I have fairly broad taste when it comes to music, which I suspect comes from having four older siblings who all had claim to the front seat of Mom’s car ahead of me – and thus, control of the radio. My siblings had different tastes in music, and I suppose I just learned to enjoy elements from each of them.

The artists I listen to most frequently are Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Nate Ruess, the Zac Brown Band and Christina Perri (my friends mock me mercilessly for this one, but I can take it). While the sounds of these artists are quite different, I think the commonality is the emotion that comes through in their songs. I also was fortunate to see “Hamilton” on Broadway during the summer of 2016, and that soundtrack has replaced “Les Miserables” on those days when I need to hear something from Broadway.


Strategy and entrepreneurship professor Olga Hawn is (mostly) all business.

I feel I am really boring as to what I am listening to: NPR (especially BBC news), Russian Business Radio, classical music (especially during work) and Pandora. As for podcasts, I recommend “Research chatter: Big ideas from business school profs” sponsored by the Strategic Management Journal.