We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Griffith aka Grades Of Absolute Truth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin Griffith, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
“Balance” is one of many words that I recently got tattooed on my right arm. When I think about my Dad, that’s the word I connect with him (font is his handwriting). Needless to say, it’s something I feel strongly about. I’ve spent a good portion of my life imbalanced with work and life. It makes me happy and fulfilled to work toward goals and be productive, so I have to be militant about NOT working myself into the ground. At this point in my life, health has to be my number 1 priority. Not just physical health, but mental and emotional, as well. Staying steady, knowing when to stop, and not obsessing over one area of my life – that’s the goal. Keeping body, mind, heart, and soul in sync. Each one is just as important as the other. It’s a difficult thing to grasp, but I’m working on it constantly.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a songwriter, recording artist, and performer that releases music under the name – Grades Of Absolute Truth. My sound is a product of inner growth and a passion for storytelling. You can find me on your favorite streaming platform – follow me and add a few songs to your daily playlists. I also perform in an indie hip hop group called The BARNyartists with JackRabbit James, JB, Ant Lion, and Mike Warren.
My purpose is to affect the world in a positive way through music. You’ll hear it, see it, and smell it on me. My biggest obstacle has been myself – overcoming confidence issues, depression, and the fear of exposing personal downfalls. Songwriting helps me reflect to be a better person and my hope is that it motivates others to discover things about themselves too. In 2016, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, so that is an ongoing challenge, as well. I’m currently recording an album about my acceptance of it. Recently, I released an ORANGE LINE in my merch store to help fundraise for the new project.
At my core, writing is my biggest passion. Playing with words is my thing. I published Past Presents Future, my first book, in 2020 during quarantine. I was excited to take that step and plan on releasing several more.
I’ve been a music teacher at an elementary school since 2005 and have been teaching private lessons at Stage Volume Entertainment since 2014. Giving back and sharing is important to me. If we’re not attempting to leave this world in better shape than we found it, what are we doing here?
Something that sets me apart from others – versatility. From sharing the stage with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to Cody Cannon of Whiskey Myers to Everlast, I can tastefully compliment a variety of vibes.
Right now, I’m most excited about my #iFEEDuFEEDme Dinner Tour. During my summers, I pack up two acoustic guitars, merch, a suitcase, a sleeping bag, and an ice chest in my car. By myself, I’ve traveled over 18,000 miles across 13 states and performed over 120 times in homes, venues, and all kindsa other spots. The idea is simple. I perform at your home in exchange for a meal and a place to stay if I’m far from Dallas. You invite your friends & family over for a musical story-telling experience. Visit my website for more info.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Whenever I’m traveling, I have a rule – eat & drink local, no chains. I have to try the area’s brews and pizza. Always. So I’d have to abide by those rules. Also, I live in Deep Ellum, so a lot of my favorite spots are in my hood.
On Monday, we’d eat breakfast at BuzzBrews and take a walk to Klyde Warren Park. Explore downtown, maybe catch a Mavs game at the AAC or go axe throwing at Whiskey Hatchet. Then we’d have to hit up Armoury D.E. to have a Bonnie & Clyde. We’d head up north to Denton on Tuesday. Maybe drive by my alma mater, wander around the square, then get some ink at Arsenal Tattoo Company. After, we’d drive over to McKinney to eat at my favorite pizza place, Cadillac Pizza, and watch some live music. Midweek, we’d spend the day on Greenville Ave to hit Bullzerk, Steel City Pops, and Truck Yard, maybe an appetizer at Simply Fondue. End up back in my hood to hang at Will Call. Gotta order a Freakin’ Rican with Pickle Fries. Or maybe the Japanese Glaze Wings with Crack Fries. And hope Paco Estrada is performing for The Acoustic Social. Next day, we’d have breakfast at All Good Cafe, then head to Shoot Smart in GP to get some range time in, have lunch at Candlelite Inn in Arlington, then head out to see the Ft Worth Water Gardens. Then catch a concert at Billy Bob’s, or maybe D Anson Brody and/or Andrew Delaney will be performing somewhere closeby. Friday morning, we’d get in a solid training session with Tim Crispin of Trajectory Fitness. Then spend the day in The Sixth Floor Museum and the Dallas Holocaust/Human Rights Museum. After having some time to digest the day, we’d dress up nicely for dinner at Sevy’s, then dessert at Reunion Tower. Hit Green Room’s rooftop for a nightcap, then have Insomnia Cookies deliver a 12 pack to my loft while we chill. Saturday morning, we’d hit the Farmer’s Market before driving to Granbury to hang at Revolver Brewery for a tour, some beers, and music. Would head back to Ellum and force them to make a hard decision that night. A burger…yes. But from where? Easy Slider, Stackhouse, Angry Dog, Twisted Root, or Adair’s? Then catch a show at the world famous Trees. On Sunday, we’d sleep in and work in The Intelligent South studio. Then go for a motorcycle ride around White Rock Lake to land at Stroker’s for lunch and the experience. Bishop Arts District is next on the agenda, definitely will hit up Spinster Records. I’d close the week out at Cane Rosso with a Zoli and The Edgar.
I feel like it would be cool to go camping and hiking at Cedar Hill State Park with some meat from La Michoacana and a Mix Tape variety 12 pack from Deep Ellum Brewing Company. And catch dinner at Little Katana at some point. But dude, there’s too much to cover my favorites in a week.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Gotta give a shoutout to my girlfriend Brandy, my family, and close friends. Without their consistent love and support, I’m not sure where I’d be. From rough patches to performances to crazy ideas I have – they’re always there to rock with me. I doubt myself a ton, so having encouraging conversations with people I trust is so valuable.
Phoenix Taylor, Joel Chapple, BB