He was born William Edward Grishaw in Lynchburg, Virginia, United States, and he renamed himself after a favorite piece of music, "The Zeb Turner Stomp". With his brother James (who took the stage name "Zeke Turner"), also a guitarist, he backed artists such as Hank Williams and Red Foley in the years after World War II. He co-wrote "It's a Sin", a number one hit on the country chart for Eddy Arnold in 1947, with music publisher Fred Rose. Turner also recorded for small record labels such as Bullet and King Records; some of these were "country boogie" tunes which were influential on early rockabilly. His King Records version of Billy Briggs' "Chew Tobacco Rag" was a No. 8 jukebox country and western hit in 1951, while his own "Tennessee Boogie" had reached No. 11 on the same chart in 1949.
- "Zeb's Mountain Boogie" (Zeb Turner) - a 1946 instrumental B-side by Brad Brady and his Tennesseans (actually Owen Bradley), it was on the first release of Bullet Records and became a regional jukebox hit.
- "Texas in My Soul" (Zeb Turner/Ernest Tubb) - recorded by Tex Williams (1946), Hank Penny (1946), and Willie Nelson (1968).
- "You Hit the Nail Right on the Head" (Turner/Tubb) - played by Tubb and his band in the 1947 film, Hollywood Barn Dance, and also issued as a single.
- "It's a Sin" (Zeb Turner/Fred Rose) - charted for Eddy Arnold (#1 in 1947) and Marty Robbins (1969)
- "There's No Room in My Heart for the Blues" (Zeb Turner/Fred Rose) - recorded by Hank Williams (1952), The The (1995), Clyde Moody (1948), and Ernest Tubb (1967)
- "Tennessee Boogie" (Zeb Turner) - charted for Turner in 1949
- "Biography by Steve Kurutz". Allmusic.com. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
- Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
- Billboard, April 28, 1951, p. 34.
- Review in No Depression, 2001, by Barry Mazor
- Air Castle of the South: WSM and Making of Music City, Craig Havighurst, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 2007, p. 145
- "Zeb Turner" entry in Country Music: A Biographical Dictionary, Richard Carlin, p. 407-8.