Country singer Dan Lepien has always had an affinity for the pastries at Kwik Trip, but a tasty Long John topped with Reese’s candy pieces prompted him to write a song as an homage to the beloved convenience store chain.
“This was next level stuff,” Lepien said. “I was so excited that I had to take a picture of it.”
The Wisconsin native posted the photo to one of his social media accounts with the title “God Bless Kwik Trip.”
“My cousin commented on my post and told me I needed to make a Kwik Trip song,” Lepien said.
He heeded the advice.
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“I sat down that day and kind of made the chorus but then I didn’t do anything with it for a couple years until I finally came back to it and wrote a couple verses,” Lepien recalled.
After finally putting the finishing touches on the song, which he titled “God Bless Kwik Trip,” Lepien ended up in a historic Nashville studio where he recorded the tune.
Lepien’s country-style vocals and instrumentation are featured on the track, along with contributions from legendary session musicians Brent Mason and Lonnie Wilson, who have backed performers such as Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn, among many others.
“God Bless Kwik Trip” was recorded under the direction of multiple Grammy Award-winning engineer and producer Zach Allen at Hilltop Recordings Studios in Nashville, the longest enduring studio business in Tennessee’s capital city and music hotbed.
“When I first wrote the song, I wrote it just like I write anything else,” Lepien said. “I like to write what I would want to hear, and I thought it would be a cool song. Then I got to thinking about it and I thought it would be really cool if Kwik Trip would post it on social media or use it as an official jingle or something like that.”
Through contacts, Lepien connected with someone in Kwik Trip’s marketing department and after some discussion it was decided that “God Bless Kwik Trip” would be played in all Kwik Trip stores.
Founded in 1965 in Eau Claire, Kwik Trip has its headquarters in La Crosse. The chain of convenience stores has more than 800 locations throughout Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and South Dakota under the Kwik Trip name.
“God Bless Kwik Trip” began playing on the in-store radio at every Kwik Trip throughout the four states on March 24. The song will be on all streaming platforms including Spotify and YouTube beginning Friday.
“I think it’s one of those things that if it does really well with the release, I think they would consider something like a sponsorship,” Lepien said. “I kind of wanted to prove myself to them first because it could potentially be a pretty big thing.”
Born and raised in Sauk City, Lepien currently resides in the Jefferson County village of Palmyra. The 30-year-old has been playing guitar since he was 10.
“I did it as a hobby on the side until I was about 25,” he said. “Then I started taking it more seriously and began playing at bars and I learned about three or four hours of cover songs. Two years in, I was able to quit my full-time job and just do this. I play anywhere from two to four shows a week. This August, it’ll be five years since my first show. It’s been really fun and very rewarding.”
Lepien said he has a passion for “authentic” country music and draws influence from traditional country stars such as George Strait, Clint Black and Dwight Yoakam. Lepien recorded his debut EP “A Country Mile” in Nashville, which was released in August 2021.
Lepien makes regular appearances in the Milwaukee area. He’s played at Nashville North on Brady Street and Tosa Tonight, Wauwatosa’s summer concert series. He has an upcoming show Vino Etcetera in Oconomowoc on April 1 and is scheduled to play an acoustic show on April 28 at Tribe Bar and Grill in Cudahy. He’ll also be performing at the Wisconsin State Fair this summer.
“I play in the Milwaukee area at least once a month,” Lepien said.
Although places like Nashville certainly offer advantages for Lepien’s burgeoning music career, something near and dear to his heart is missing when he’s outside his home state.
“Being on the road just isn’t the same without my Kwik Trip stops,” he said. “They keep my engine running and my stomach happy. When you hear the song, you can almost taste your morning Karuba Coffee and a delicious Dunker Donut as you fuel up for the day.”
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