Home Brew – Sugar ‘n Spice


2 in stock

SKU: TN2448-88 Category:


“Homebrew” – makes for foot-tapping, dancing, sing-along, easy listening of gospel’,folky’ and Celtic ballads, country, rock ‘n’ roll, roots and blues. You are in for a variety of treats along the way…so enjoy!


CD review by Tony Smith

TN2448-88 – $20

TN155 Apr 23

On this album of 12 tracks, Vanessa Craven is the main performer with vocals, guitar, harmonica and percussion.

She is ably assisted by Zdena Schwangmeier on ukulele bass.

Recording was at Woofer Dog Studios and mixing and mastering was by Crystal Mastering.

Craven has a good eye and ear for songs and a couple of instrumentals, which all but the youngest listeners are bound to recognise.

Homebrew cover traditional songs such as ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ and the Animals’ arrangement of ‘House of the Rising Sun’.

They sing ‘Going Up the Country’, ‘East Virginia Blues’, Sting’s ‘Fields of Gold’, Doug Mclean’s ‘Caledonia’ and Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’.

While most of these tracks could be straight from the ukulele songbook, Craven also covers Van Zandt’s ‘If I Needed You’ and Fadmili William’s ‘Malaika My Angel’.

Then, just to demonstrate her versatility, she provides instrumental versions of ‘Danny Boy’ and the Beatles’ ‘Ballad of John and Yoko’ and ‘Mull of Kintyre’.

Craven is a full time musician and organises festivals, especially in and around Daylesford, Victoria.

In 2011 she produced originals in the ‘Filtered Light’ album and in 2016 created more in ‘Forbidden Dance’, featuring Lunar Dust.

Clearly, Craven’s repertoire for this album is drawn from mainly American roots.

Listeners will be familiar with all of the tracks, which means that Craven is likely to be judged against some pretty spectacular company.

As the picture of the players shows however, they are into simple enjoyment rather than competition.


CD review by Graham Blackley

Daylesford based duo Vanessa Craven and Zdena Schwangmeier perform together under the catchy name Sugar ‘n’ Spice.

Schwangmeier plays ukulele bass while Craven, who also has a band called Lunar Dust, handles vocals, guitar, harmonica and percussion.

This lively album features their take on a host of classics such as “House of the Rising Sun” (which was made famous by The Animals back in the 1960’s), Lennon and McCartney’s “Ballad of John and Yoko” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

The highlight of this album is the gentle and wonderfully melodic instrumental version of “Danny Boy”, which brightened and enlivened my Monday afternoon.

After hearing this CD you may want to check out Sugar ‘n’ Spice’s live shows, so head to Vanessa Craven’s website for news of upcoming gigs.

Additional information

Weight .130 kg
Dimensions 21 × 15 × 1.0 cm