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LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Gregg Martinez, the soul-singing bus driver from Opelousas, has enjoyed some high-profile fans in his 42 years in music. In the 1980s, one woman couldn’t stop clapping and smiling during a casino show in Atlantic City, NJ.

She turned out to be the owner’s wife — Ivana Trump. Martinez received a four-year contract to perform exclusively at the casino.

After Martinez’s 2005 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival performance, the late Ed Bradley of “60 Minutes” fame called Martinez one of America’s greatest hidden treasures.

Those compliments now rival new recognition for Martinez. His latest CD, “Soul of the Bayou,” stands at No. 5 on the Roots Music Report’s R&B Top 10 Albums chart.

Martinez’s album, which moved up 10 spots in a week, is head of releases from Aretha Franklin, Maxwell, Mary J. Blige and other R&B stars. Martinez is relishing the attention.

“It’s not Billboard, but it’s something,” said Martinez. “I’ve never been on a national chart that high.

“I’m one of those proverbial, slip-through-the-cracks guys. This 61-year-old, bald-headed, white guy in Opelousas is two spots ahead of Aretha. That’s pretty cool.”

Billed as the number one independent music chart in the world, RMR compiles radio airplay data from stations across the globe. Stations report the number of times they’ve played an album into a database that totals all spins reported for that week.

The notoriety is not bad for a CD that was released 18 months ago on Louisiana Red Hot Records of New Orleans. The 11th album of Martinez’s career contains an outstanding cover of the Jackson 5’s “Who’s Lovin’ You,” along with reworks of Bobby Blue Bland’s “You’ve Got to Hurt Before You Heal” and “I Can’t Stand the Rain” from Ann Peebles. “That Old Wind,” a Martinez original, features slide guitar ace Sonny Landreth.

Reviewer Robert H. Cataliotti wrote in Living Blues magazine, “Gregg Martinez has such a great voice, it is hard not to be won over by Soul of the Bayou.”

Martinez credits his chart and review recognition to Bruce Flett, a musician and agent who promotes independent artists to radio stations and other media. Martinez hired Flett after his 2011 CD, “South of the Parish Line,” which landed on the Louisiana Roots chart.

“I ran into Bruce again and asked if it was too late for ‘Soul of the Bayou’,” said Martinez. “The CD had been out a year and a half.

“He said if we do it before the end of the year, we’ll be OK. I hired him again and it took off. It started getting results right away on the national music charts.

“It’s kind of got its second wind. I wish I had done it from the get-go. I could kick myself now.”

Martinez says new gigs haven’t started pouring in yet. But marketing is part of his plan for more gigs and festival touring in 2018.

He’s strongly considering retiring his school bus and moving to New Orleans to pursue music full time.

“There’s things I can’t get into because I don’t live there. But I you move there, they roll out the red carpet. Guys come from outside Louisiana and there’s nothing Louisiana about them. But they move there and get in the scene.

“Over here, I’m in competition with all these young guys. It’s hard to get into these festivals. But I think New Orleans will celebrate you more.”