The 83-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer said his recent diagnosis was upsetting at first, but he has hopes modern medicine will help him beat cancer – or at least push it off for a while.

“They can do wonders,” Louvin said this week. “And what I need sorely is a miracle, and I believe they’re still around. There’s miracles that happen in this country every day and I’m wide open for one.”

Louvin seems as vital as ever. He has two albums set for release over the next few months, a healthy schedule of live shows booked and an optimist’s sense of the future.

“Charlie’s old school,” said Brett Steele, his manager. “The show must go on. He fought me tooth and nail to postpone all these dates he had in July and August.”

Louvin acknowledges momentary dismay, though, when he first found out he might have cancer. He said his blood pressure was too high despite medication and his doctor wanted to conduct tests to find out why. As Louvin said in a phone interview from his home in Wartrace, Tenn., “He figured some of my plumbing had blew up.”

An MRI showed a shadow on Louvin’s pancreas, the gland that produces key hormones and digestive enzymes. With his family gathered around him at the hospital, the doctor said Louvin had just six months to live.

“I guarantee that rattled my cage,” Louvin said.

The next day Louvin visited cancer specialists at Vanderbilt University. They confirmed the diagnosis with a needle biopsy, but told Louvin the prognosis was not as grim as he’d been led to believe. He’ll undergo a special operation July 22.

Doctors told him even “if they don’t get it all they still give me five years, and … I left there on cloud nine,” Louvin said.

He’s been warned that he’ll be in the hospital for six days after the surgery and could be laid up for 30. But he’s so confident in his recuperative abilities that he wants to hit the road in late August again, though Steele prevailed and his next planned show isn’t until Sept. 12 in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Louvin remains in demand. He first became popular in the 1950s as part of the Louvin Brothers duo with his brother, Ira. The two specialized in harmony and revolutionized the way singers in all genres sing together with their close harmonies. Their music has remained timeless, and though Louvin’s career suffered the same ups and downs that any performer working in his sixth decade might expect, he’s never really been out of demand.

In the 1960s, Gram Parsons spread the Louvin Brothers gospel to bands like The Byrds and in the 1990s the modern folk movement fell in love with their sound.

He’s paying back that appreciation Tuesday when he releases Hickory Wind, a tribute to Parsons that was recorded live in the country rock pioneer’s hometown of Waycross, Ga. A second album is already recorded and will be released in January.

Parsons was in love with the Louvin Brothers’ harmony and he would try to get the artists he worked with to emulate their sound.

Louvin understands how Parsons felt.

“I’m the biggest harmony lover in the world,” he said. “If a song’s worth singing you ought to put harmony on it.”