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Tom Petty's 'Keep A Little Soul' Is The First Taste Of A Vault-Busting New Box Set

When Tom Petty died unexpectedly last fall, the 66-year-old singer left behind a nearly 50-year catalog, from early garage-rock excursions with Mudcrutch to inescapable pop hits with The Heartbreakers to gentle solo folk-pop material. His released archive is massive and formidable — and it's about to be joined by a box set with dozens of unreleased songs from across Petty's long career.

Curated by the star's family and bandmates, the 60-song An American Treasure, due out Sept. 28, is no greatest-hits set — Petty had enough of those to begin with. Instead, it plunders his sizable vaults for unreleased songs, outtakes, alternate versions, rarities, live tracks and deep cuts worth revisiting. (The package will also come in deluxe, vinyl and pared-down forms.)

An American Treasure's previously unreleased tracks include "Keep a Little Soul," a 1982 cut from the Long After Dark sessions that finds Petty in kindhearted, free-spirited, keep-your-chin-up mode. Accompanied by a video full of old performance footage and behind-the-scenes home movies, it's a sweet way to begin revisiting a career that could hardly be contained on a single box set.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)