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Formed in 1996 in the college town of Missoula, MT, Tarkio, named for a small city in the western part of the state, featured the talents of guitarist Gibson Hartwell, bass player Louis Stein, drummer Brian Collins, pedal steel player Kevin Suggs, and singer/songwriter and future Decemberist Colin Meloy. The band mined similar musical territory as college rock staples the Go-Betweens, the Waterboys, and R.E.M., employing a blend of alternative country and Americanized Brit-pop that won them a small but loyal regional following. Between 1996 and 1999 they released two records, the full-length I Guess I Was Hoping for Something More and the EP Sea Songs for Landlocked Sailors, both of which were reissued on the Kill Rock Stars label as a two-disc set called Omnibus in 2006.