Big Creek Slim

Marc Rune/Big Creek Slim

By Johnny Petersen

Photo courtesy of Steve Howard

A country blues artist that’s been in the spotlight the last few years is Big Creek Slim. Born in Denmark he took to the U.S. while still young and is currently living of coast in Brazil, married to a Brazilian girl. Every summer he returns to Scandinavia, touring frequently there as well as in northern Europe.

The man behind the name is the Dane Marc Koldkjær Rune, born 1984, from Ikast outside Aarhus in Jutland. meets up with him during a concert at Bartof Café in Copenhagen where he has landed during his ongoing summer tour.

In his own words, “I´m Ramblin´ Big Creek Slim. I am just one more bluesman beneath the sun, trying to do my thing in a world that doesn´t make no sense. I believe that playing the blues is all I ever wanted. It ain’t that much about American or black music as it’s about the blues. The blues should be a universal feeling, and a world patrimony. Why I play them in this style – old, black, American – has something to do with the way I am. I always liked to find the roots of things. I also search for the roots of Scandinavian culture. I played a lot of Irish traditional music, and the roots of Brazilian Samba fascinate me. The thing that inspired me so about old blues and folk music is the strong sound. Less is more if you play it with attitude. The sound of the Delta blues carries me to a more primitive state of mind, and I get to cut the cheese out of my life, if you know what I mean.”

His singing is raw, unpolished, genuine and soulful, straight from the heart. Some calls it black. So is also his guitar playing. It’s economic but intense on a dirty old Danish-made guitar he found in a friend’s attic. The notes goes straight into your marrow.

Marc Rune began playing guitar early and as soon as he had made enough money on a construction site he left for the U.S. and hoboed around. He played in street corners, bars and small venues in Clarksdale, Memphis and other locations in the south. After a while he stayed at Teddy’s Juke Joint in Baton Rouge where he jammed with various bands and artists. Finally, he ended up in Brazil where he settled down in Florianopolis on the tropical island Santa Catarina, in a cottage on the beach.

After he began touring in his old native country, he has made quite an impression.

  • 2013 he won the Danish Blues Challenge
  • 2015 Blues Name of the Year
  • 2016 best Blues Album of the Year
  • 2017 best Blues Album of the Year
  • 2017 Blues Honor Prize from Blueskartellet
  • 2019 best Blues Album of the Year

Marcs foremost inspiration was James ‘Chicken Scratch’ Johnson, Slim Harpo’s former guitarist. It was Johnson who made Marc stop playing with a flat-pick and start fingerpicking. Dough McLeod encouraged him to concentrate on his right hand and when you watch him play his fingers are almost dancing across the strings. He says that his quite unique style of playing is something that has evolved over time.

Other important inspirations are John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. Answering the question about who he would like to invite over to Denmark he says, “Terry ‘Harmonica’ Bean. He has played with him in Brazil after they first met in Arkansas. Marc is also fortunate to have been playing with pianoplayer Henry Gray, one of the dinosaurs of contemporary Southern Blues.

Photo courtesy of Steve Howard