Merle Haggard released his latest CD, “Working in Tennessee,” in late October. But as spring arrives and he returns to touring, he’s trying to treat the album as if it’s a brand-new release.

“Well, I got sick right there in the highlight of the (initial) promotion of it,” he explained in a late March phone interview. “So we’re in the process of talking to the promotion people at Vanguard (Records), and we’re going to get back on the promotion of it, and bring it to life, get some airplay and whatever. I think the best thing that could happen is if we could connect it with a new movie some way.”

The illness Haggard mentions was fairly serious — pneumonia — and it sidelined him in January just as he was trying to establish some momentum for “Working in Tennessee.”

“I got it bad, and I had to spend 10 days on intravenous inside the hospital and all of that,” he said. “I had some bleeding ulcers. My hemoglobin got down on me. The count was bad. Hell, I was bleeding to death, and didn’t even know it, I guess. But I got that taken care of, so I’m walking a little bit every day, a little more (at a time).”

For a moment in January, though, Haggard feared his illness was something worse — a return of the lung cancer that was diagnosed in 2008 and that he had seemingly beaten, having been given the all-clear after treatment.

“They (doctors) thought it was a recurrence when they first looked (at me),” Haggard said. “The first 30 hours down there in the hospital in Georgia, I thought it was all over. They said, ‘It looks like the cancer has come back.’ Yeah, they said it was a 65 percent chance that the cancer has returned.

“And I said, ‘Well, OK.’ They said ‘Now, it could be pneumonia.’ For about 30 hours until we got the report, it was tough. You really got a good chance to look at yourself.”

Haggard isn’t behaving like someone who is worried about his health these days. Having turned 75 on April 6, he is starting out on a U.S. tour that has dates booked into September and comes to the Music Hall in Portsmouth, N.H., on Friday. (Elsa Cross opens.)

And he has his eyes on booking the most extensive world tour he’s done in years. What’s more, he also said his management is exploring the possibilities of making a feature-length movie and doing a reality television show.

“We really don’t have a working title, but it (the movie) would be me and my life and my love story with Bonnie Owens and how we got started, coming out of prison and (having) fame,” Haggard said.

Haggard’s life has certainly been dramatic enough for the big screen.

Growing up in the Bakersfield suburb of Oildale, Calif., Haggard ran afoul of the law on several occasions as a teen before an attempted robbery in 1957 landed him in San Quentin state prison for three years.

There, Haggard got his life together and came out of prison ready to pursue country music. He got a deal with Tally Records, and with his first top 10 hit, “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers” in 1966, he began a run of hits that continued into the 1980s and made Haggard one of country’s top stars.

His output of albums slowed in the 1990s, but after signing with the rock label Anti Records in 2000, Haggard began a prolific stretch that has included eight studio albums, the latest of which is “Working in Tennessee.”

Along the way, Haggard married five times. He had four children with his first wife, Leona Hobbs, and a 13-year second marriage to Owens, a country star in her own right who put her career second to raising Haggard’s children and touring with him as a backup singer. That marriage ended in 1978, and Haggard went on to marry and divorce twice more before he met his current wife, Theresa Ann Lane, in 1993.

As for the reality series, that would focus on Haggard’s current day-to-day life on the road and with Theresa and their two children, Jenessa and Ben.

“I’m a blessed man,” Haggard said. “I’ve had the opportunity to live and watch some children grow up, and I didn’t start (this second family) until I was 53 years old. Here I am, and I’m healthy and everything and I’ve got this young family.

“My wife is over here saying, ‘What about my wife?’ So we’re doing real good, the family. If that part’s OK, then everything is all right, you know what I mean?”

For the moment, Haggard will be busy touring with the latest edition of his long-running band, The Strangers. A typical show includes a few tunes from the new album as well as a selection of tunes from a back catalog that includes some 100 charting singles.

“We change it up every night,” Haggard said. “We don’t use the same songs. So the band stays on their toes.”

Alan Sculley is a freelance writer.