Cape Breton singer-songwriter chronicles Alberta job woes in YouTube song

With the blow of low oil prices still reverberating through the job market in Alberta, a Cape Breton singer songwriter who has worked in Alberta has posted an original song called $100 Barrel on YouTube, chronicling the impact of that downturn.

A failed relationship and a prayer for another boom are covered in Jody Hickey's song

Jody Hickey calls migrating between between Nova Scotia and western Canada the "Cape Breton lifestyle." (Youtube)

With the blow of low oil prices still reverberating through the job market in Alberta, a Cape Breton singer-songwriter who has worked in Alberta has posted an original song called $100 Barrel on YouTube, chronicling the impact of that downturn.

The effect of a bust is something Jody Hickey knows well.

"It comes swift and there's not many people that are spared," Hickey told CBC's Mainstreet on Friday.

For more than 15 years, Hickey worked in various positions in Alberta, most recently as an insulator. 

Nearly everyone he's worked with has been affected by the downturn, and he said seeing what his friends and co-workers in Alberta are going through prompted him to write the song.

Since it was posted on Dec. 23, the video has garnered over 6,000 views.

"It seemed to hit a nerve with a lot of people," said Hickey.

After finishing high school, Hickey embarked on what he calls the "Cape Breton lifestyle," migrating back and forth between Nova Scotia and western Canada. 

As painful as the downturn is, he said the work came with its own consequences.

"I did have a relationship fall apart because of the travel plan," said Hickey.

"It turns out you're only home a little over two and a half months out of 12, that's not very long at all."

Hickey is currently finishing his trade certification in Halifax and looking into work with the offshore oil industry. He wouldn't rule out the possibility of going back to Alberta if oil reaches $100 a barrel again.

"There's always hope," he said.

About the Author

Moira Donovan

Associate Producer

Moira Donovan is a journalist with CBC Nova Scotia. She's worked in Lyon, London and now reports from Halifax. She can be found on Twitter @MoiraDonovan


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