Known to many roots country fans as the tasteful touring guitarist for Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller - who makes a rare appearance at the Horseshoe February 23 - has been slowly developing a name for himself as an equally talented singer/songwriter on his collaborative recordings with wife, Julie Miller. But the fact that his latest solo work, Universal United House Of Prayer (New West), recently got a Grammy nod should be a huge boost to Miller's stock. And even better news is that his stirring ode to spiritual renewal has fortuitously been placed in the Southern, country or bluegrass gospel album category, which means he won't have to duke it out with Nashville's hat 'n' hot tub superstars. Although the formidable Crabb Family aren't going down without a fight. 370 Queen West. $13.50. 416-870-8000.
There's nothing like some scorching salsa-funk to chase away those February blahs, and Venezuela's premier party posse, Los Amigos Invisibles , are just the men for the job. If Buddy Miller is thrilled about his first Grammy nomination, the Amigos must be positively over the moon about the three their Venezuelan Zinga Son, Vol. 1 got for best dance-electronica, best-engineered album and best-produced album (non-classical). Considering they had the dynamic house duo Masters at Work behind the board, that last one is well earned. Even if they get shut out, count on them to still be in a partying mood at the Opera House February 26 - that's what they do. 735 Queen East. $20. 416-466-0313.
Some thought it might never happen - while others prayed it wouldn't - but the members of former hair-metal superstars Mötley Crüe have reunited for their first multi-date tour since Tommy Lee left the group back in 99. Sure, Vince Neil 's put on a few pounds and there's significantly less hair to go around, but the Crüe still have their loyal fans, who aren't worried by the warning signalled by the wince-inducing new single If I Die Tomorrow. Expect them to show up in great numbers at the Air Canada Centre February 23 just to see if Lee is still willing to spin around overhead strapped in his patented drum contraption and sing along to Shout At The Devil - not with the devil. 40 Bay. $59.50-$84.50. 416-870-8000.
During the tank tops 'n' patios dog days of summer, the whole "quiet is the new loud" thing can seem a bit, er, wimpy. But when you're hiding in your apartment to avoid the grey February slush, ain't no better panacea than delicately strummed guitars and whispery voices, so we're thrilled that Norway indie folk royalty Kings of Convenience have chosen to make their Toronto debut February 17 at Lee's Palace . The neo-Simon & Garfunkel duo's tunes provide the same warm fuzzies as the woolly sweaters you'll need to mop up your tears after listening to their lovesick ballads. Need more reasons to leave home? The lads are one of La Feist's fave bands, and our girl helped out on their recent Riot On An Empty Street disc. Très bien. 529 Bloor West. $13. 416-532-1598.
Between Lost In Translation and Gwen Stefani's twisted championing of her Harajuku girl harem, pop culture vultures are seizing on a bizarre Japanese fetish. Perhaps hoping to prevent unsuspecting Japanophiles from buying Stefani's solo atrocity, L.A.M.B., local music promoters are bringing some fab talent from the Far East to grace our fair city this spring. First up are snack-obsessed sugary punk-pop cult heroines (and former Sassy mag cute band) Shonen Knife , who warm hearts at Lee's Palace February 26 ($10.50). And barely a week later, head back to Lee's to catch beloved manic punk power trio Guitar Wolf , who touch down March 3 ($10) with a roster of terrific Torontonians like soul-charged ball-busting sweethearts Lullabye Arkestra . 529 Bloor West. 416-532-1598.
You've watched the scandal unfolding like a horrific car wreck in slow motion - the hoedown, the frantic back-pedalling, the shame of being booed by a stadium of football fans. Decide for yourself whether Jessica's little sister, Ashlee Simpson , is a voiceless hack when the former 7th Heaven angel and current scapegoat suffering for the evils of the pop industry serenades her adoring fan base of tweeny-boppers at Massey Hall March 13. It's tempting, but we refuse to indulge in any jokes at her expense. OK, just one. D'you think the tour is sponsored by Pepcid AC? 178 Victoria. $39.50-$55. 416-870-8000.