For a guy who’s spent most of the 18 years this compilation spans dogmatically adhering to self-imposed restrictions, there’s a remarkable amount of diversity here – and not a clunker to be found.
It showcases White as the meticulous and often disarmingly sincere folk/blues songwriter, not the entertainingly mannered rocker.
What emerges over the course of these two albums are a series of vulnerable, tender numbers that highlight how talented a songwriter White truly is – a trait that gets lost amidst the critical commotion surrounding his increasingly eccentric creative pursuits.
Bared of his pearly king artifice, White’s new pose as a normal human being finds him every bit the painstaking craftsman in this classy compilation.
Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 not only is a strong set of songs but it makes it plain that White has been mining the same territory, finding something new within it for nearly two decades.
They slip from blues to country to gospel to Sixties rock and back in a blink, exchanging spontaneity and craft so effortlessly there's no discernible difference between the two.
His songwriting skills are only more apparent when he turns down the volume and lets his music do the talking.
More than just showcasing his tuneful side, Acoustic Recordings is a shrine to White’s self-sufficiency, in both the musical and ideological senses.
There’s nothing wrong with the actual music ... Acoustic Recordings doesn’t offer much in the way of unheard music.
Examine the details of this collection, and you might find that, yet again, White seeks to reveal some deep-seated aspect of his artistic identity by way of hints through minute details.
When presented as a whole, this anthology feels oddly scattered, elusively concealing any recurring patterns or trajectories.