Hope Machine, whose core members are Steve Kirkman and Fred Gillen Jr., was born at a 2003 Woody Guthrie hootenanny hosted by Woody's granddaughter Anna Canoni. It was named after the Woody quote: "about all a human being is anyway is a hoping machine."
Their debut CD March, which was released in the Winter of 2006/ 2007, was recorded live-in-the-studio and received folk airplay all over the East Coast. The follow-up to March, Big Green Hope Machine, features some of Gillen and Kirkman's finest songs, and some great special guests including Abbie Gardner of Red Molly and Lisa Gutkin of the Klezmatics. It has gotten great reviews and airplay all over the world. In 2011 International Folk Alliance featured their song Peace Rant on its War and Politics compilation CD. Their arrangements of two Woody Guthrie songs will be featured on the Pete Seeger album Pete Remembers Woody, which will be released by Appleseeds Records on September 25, 2012.
Hope Machine is always evolving, but the message of the songs they write and the songs they choose to play is one of hope, peace, and freedom. They encourage people to sing along at every show, and often have special guests in the band. They are equally at home performing acoustically at a house concert as they are with electric guitars wailing at a big theatre or festival. Though they sing many of their own songs these days, they remain an "official program" of the Woody Guthrie Foundation, and carry Woody's message wherever they go, that we are all hope machines.