Cancer survivor Merle Haggard says he’s “swinging back in full throttle right now,” and his engine is revving thanks in part to his new album, ‘Working in Tennessee,’ which is due Oct. 4 on Vanguard Records.

“Music keeps me alive. It makes me breathe better,” says Haggard, who had a cancerous tumor removed from his right lung in November 2008.

‘Working in Tennessee,’ the 74-year-old Haggard’s 77th album, features 11 songs. Fellow country legend Willie Nelson joins Haggard on a version of ‘Working Man Blues.’

The inspiration for the title track was a flood in Nashville, Haggard said during his May 7 show at the Fox Theater in Bakersfield, Calif.

Meanwhile, Haggard will return to the road July 28 with a show in Wichita, Kan. His tour itinerary continues into early October.

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