The catchphrase Albertans are using to measure their resilience in the face of a huge flood cleanup — "come hell or high water" — has been immortalized in song.

Nashville-based musician Marc Martel, scheduled to play at the Transalta Grandstand Show during the Calgary Stampede this year, wrote the song as the flood-weary city races to prepare for the annual celebration.


Marc Martel wrote the song Hell or High Water in tribute to Calgary's can-do spirit. (Canadian Press)

He recorded the song with backing vocals by The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede and production by Dave Pierce, slated to serve as Grandstand Show Producer next year.

Their recording, assembled in 48 hours, can be downloaded from the Calgary Stampede website. Calgary Stampede president Bob Thompson asserted last week that the 101-year-old event will go ahead "come hell or high water."

The phrase turned up in social media and has also appeared on T-shirts being sold in support of Southern Alberta Flood Relief. The song is an effort to boost morale and celebrate the spirit shown in the wake of the floods, the musicians said.

The rock-tinged anthem begins with the phrase "They left you holding the bucket and singing the blues," in tribute to the many Calgary residents who faced flooding over the last two weeks.

If there’s one thing Albertans know it’s "how to build a fortune out of blood, sweat and tears, with the faith of modern day pioneers," Martel sings.

The rousing chorus includes the phrase "Come hell or high water, the show will go on."

Montreal-born Martel is the Freddie Mercury sound-a-like who toured with the Queen Extravaganza band after winning the role of lead vocalist in an international competition. He also performed in Saskatchewan-based Christian rock group downhere for 10 years.

"I wrote this song inspired by the post-flood people of Calgary and their Stampede. You can have it for free!" Martel posted via Twitter.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford acknowledged the song in a tweet of her own: "Big thanks to @MarcMartel & The Young Canadians for their terrific Hell Or High Water song!"