Dan Lepien's new brand-loyalty anthem isn't sponcon. But the golden-voiced country singer from Sauk City, Wisconsin, is no dummy: He wrote "God Bless Kwik Trip" knowing that rhapsodizing the gas station Midwesterners adore might spark career opportunities.
“Kwik Trip is something I really love, but I know a lot of other people love it... and maybe they’d even throw me some money for it,” Lepien says. “It was one of those rare things, a cool opportunity. Like, I love old-school classic country songs, real sad songs. But that’s not as profitable. This is something that a lot of people are going to actually like.”
"God Bless Kwik Trip" dropped 10 days ago, and right away the La Crosse, Wisconsin-headquartered company threw a $100 gift card and KT merch at Lepien. The 30-year-old singer reports he's "playing it cool" with ongoing sponsorship and endorsement talks. Kwik Trip brand reps tell Lepie that the track is in heavy rotation inside 800+ stores, a fact that's confirmed by this YouTube commenter: "My boss just played this at are store meating all of us where jamming out lol I love working for kwick trip."
Beyond the corporate synergy, we must note that "God Bless Kwik Trip" legit slaps. Inspiration for the song came in earnest a couple years back, when Lepien captioned an Instagram post with that exact phrase. His astute cousin commented: That's a song.
“I felt it could be a breakout song for me," says Lepien, who's been writing and performing country music full-time in Wisconsin and Nashville since late 2020. "I’ve had the chorus written for a couple years.”
Lepien recorded the track with an ace crew of Nashville session players, including Alan Jackson's go-to guitarist, Brent Mason. He's fully committed as a singer, delivering lines about Karuba coffee and Dunker donuts with a smooth, muscular drawl that means every fist-pumping line. The content might be gimmicky, but the influence of Lepien's musical heroes like George Strait and Alan Jackson is apparent even as he sings "The long johns with Reese's / Bread sticks that tease us." There's something intrinsically likable about a pro with obvious chops approaching subject matter this goofy with a barely a wink.
“I do order the sausage egg ‘n’ cheese croissants a lot, but that was kind of a mouthful to say," he says, reflecting on how the product references came together. "A lot of people are mad I didn’t include the chicken sandwiches; I thought that was too obvious, so I did Angus cheeseburgers instead.”
With almost 9,000 YouTube views, "God Bless Kwik Trip" hasn't blown up yet, though that may change as Lepien takes the song on the road. He's got a full spring and summer itinerary of live gigs lined up, including ones at Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair, and opening for Rodney Atkins.
Lepien has only played a few dates in Minnesota. He was reassured to hear that Kwik Trip love runs deep in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. On what must've been a very slow news day, Racket once ranked the local gas stations; Kwik Trip was the obvious, slam-Dunker winner:
"The platonic ideal of a gas station," we wrote. "It's as if god himself molded each Kwik Trip from concrete, gasoline, Glazer doughnuts, and manna from heaven. The bathrooms are gleaming pissing-cathedrals; the food—including newish entries like fried chicken and Pothole frozen pizzas—has no business being so good, and the expertly carbonated pop hits even better with the proprietary granular ice chunks. We could take of leave the sassy brand account, but its Gen Z handlers are keenly aware of the cult of Kwik Trip: The Wisconsin-based company even has its own merch line."
But our attempt at lyrical prose is no match for the love-letter lyricism of "God Bless Kwik Trip," which we'll be loudly blasting into the weekend.
See ya next time.