When Jernigan was nine years of age his father bought him his first steel guitar. By the time he was fourteen years old, he was playing on the weekends at VFW and Legion Halls in the Pensacola area.
Jernigan has toured as a backup player for David Houston, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky, Jack Greene, Johnny PayCheck, Little Jimmy Dickens, Lorrie Morgan, and Vassar Clements. In 1977, Jernigan became a Christian and began to play in church and still does today. He has recorded with Betty Jean Robinson, Joe Paul Nichols and many other gospel music groups.
For his many accomplishments on the steel guitar, Doug was inducted into the International Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1994. The Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame Plaque reads:
- DOUG JERNIGAN
- CONCERT, SESSION AND MAJOR RECORDING ARTIST, HE HAS SHARED HIS KNOWLEDGE AND ADVANCED THE STEEL AND DOBRO INTO COUNTRY JAZZ. HE ACHIEVED SINGLE STRING DELIVERY BEYOND MERE RIFFS, BUT FOR COMPLETE TUNES, WITH FLOWING, SCORCHING SPEED.
- BORN: JANUARY 5, 1946 PENSACOLA, FLORIDA INDUCTED: 1994
Jernigan continues as a recording artist, session player, teacher of the steel guitar and talented musician.
Tom Bradshaw quoted:
- In the early '70s, I was bouncing around Nashville searching for good steel-men. With me was Sonny Curtis, at that time the steel player for George Jones' Jones Boys. We passed Demon's Den and heard some guy trying to play hoe-downs on steel, but wasn’t quite cutting it. Sonny and I elbowed our way inside and learned that the player was Jernigan. That was the first time I had heard Doug, although word of him had been circulating for some time. I commented to Sonny that no one would ever be able to play steel at the speed of a fiddle or banjo player, except for short riffs. I told Sonny, "The kid should give up trying." Fortunately, Doug never heard my comment, not that he should have paid any attention.
In his early years (1960s & '70s), Jernigan honed his skills as a backup player. In 1970 Ron Lashley of the Emmons Guitar Company recognized Doug's talent and produced his first album, Uptown To Country. Since then, Doug has recorded many more instrumental albums, shared billing on others, and has been the session steel guitarist on several recordings by such country music artists as Faron Young, Little Jimmy Dickins, Lorrie Morgan, and David Frizzell.
Today, Doug tours as a concert performer, records with a host of Country Music artists and has plays on the Opry. He is also an accomplished Dobro player. His latest release is titled Doug Jernigan Plays Jazz Standards.
- Sounds of Doug Jernigan and Gary Adams (????)
- Roadside Rag (1976)
- Cross Country (1977)
- Doug and Bucky (1978)
- Skyhigh Steel (1978)
- Diggin' Doug (1993)
- Jazz by Jernigan (2000)
- Doug Jernigan Plays Jazz Standards (2006)
- Portions of this text are copied from the biography published by Phil Burton, released under the GFDL.