Posted on: May 8, 2021

She started dancing to that fine, fine music. You know, her life was saved by rock'n'roll. The Velvet Underground, “Rock and Roll” 

Music is my savior … I was tamed by rock and roll. Wilco, “Sunken Treasure”


Welcome to the inaugural issue of the digital only version of the VTLA Law Letter. The old paper version was pulled out of the deep freeze, defibrillated a few times, and here it is reincarnated as an NFT … just kidding, I still have no clue what an NFT even is.

What I do know is that all signs are pointing to us slowly but surely emerging from a pandemic marked by isolation, grief and financial hardships. I won’t spend a lot of “ink” waxing on about what we have been through the last 14 months because we have all lived it and it’s still so fresh. There will be plenty of time down the road to dissect it because the ultimate toll has yet to be calculated. What I do want to say is that if you made it this far, congrats. There’s light at the end of the tunnel and the eternal optimist in me trusts that we will collectively be ok.

So, sitting here as the still somewhat new President of this amazing Association with my passion for helping my clients and commitment to VTLA intact, I am reflecting on several topics. One is my infinite amount of respect for the job my predecessor, Elliot Buckner, did last year under such truly trying circumstances. He and Valerie O’Brien not only successfully held our association together but managed to deliver an impressive portfolio of accomplishments, including retaining and growing our membership (amazing!) and realizing substantive successes at the General Assembly that will benefit our clients for years to come. My friend Elliott has a lot to be proud of and has left a lasting legacy from his time holding the gavel (… and for those wondering, there really is a gavel – Elliott “passed” it to me at the Convention, and Valerie let me keep it for about an hour before she confiscated it). Thank you, Elliott, Valerie and the entire staff for everything you have invested in VTLA over the last 14 months.

If you’re wondering the point of those song lyrics up top, well, I’m finally getting there in my own meandering way. A concept I have been reflecting on quite a bit recently is the idea of what exactly got people through the last year. By that, I mean what did they lean on, where did they find joy, where did they retreat to or seek solace from to fight the dread and keep the deluge of negativity at bay? For me, it was a combination of things – getting up close and personal with my family and dogs, doubling down on exercise … and losing myself in music. Close and even some casual friends have borne witness to my affinity for music, but internally it goes much deeper than that. Getting metaphorically lost in a labyrinth of music has long been my personal version of therapy. It’s where I go to relax, to calm the waters and to peacefully end - and excitedly start - my days. As Lou Reed and Jeff Tweedy from Wilco suggest above, I have consistently been saved and (somewhat) tamed by rock and roll. 

If anything, being on quarantine, lockdown and everything else that came with it only strengthened my bond with music. If you were a neo-hippie in college (meekly raises hand), you undoubtedly read Tom Wolfe’s “Electric Koolaid Acid Test,” in which Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters name the bus they drove cross-country “Furthur” to signify the idea of ignoring limits and rejecting norms and instead embracing the idea of always pushing forward, accepting the concept of being uncomfortable … and thereby going “furthur.” And without question, that’s where my own relationship with music evolved during the last year.

As we now collectively emerge from our own modern day version of the late unpleasantness, I wanted to share a playlist of songs I put together to lift your spirits and, just maybe, inspire you to go “furthur!” The playlist  hopefully has something for everyone as it veers across genres and contains songs by artists both well-known and obscure. There’s country and classic rock and punk and indie rock and funk and a little bit of everything in between … well, not much modern pop music but you get the idea. Thematically, the songs loosely center on concepts of emergence, revitalization, resilience in the face of adversity and optimism. And sure, there are some overt and sly references to our chosen profession. Still, some songs are included for no other reason than they get my blood pumping and elicit a huge snaggle-toothed grin on my face. 

The playlist is purposefully long, maybe enough so to listen to on a drive from Virginia Beach to Big Stone Gap without hearing any repeats! Give it a spin and let me know what you think if you feel so inclined. I hope you enjoy it. And more importantly, I hope each of you are doing ok and continuing to find comfort in whatever helped get you to this point. Be well, my friends.

 - Craig Davis, 2021-22 VTLA President

Listen to Craig’s new playlist here!