The album features ten songs written over a span of four to five years. The album was recorded by Gossard over a two and a half year period in Seattle, Washington and completed in 2001. Gossard worked with producer Pete Droge. Gossard sang lead vocals on seven out of the album's ten tracks, while guest vocalists Pete Droge and Ty Willman sang on the remaining three tracks. Gossard also contributed drums and piano to the album, as well as guitar, bass and vocals. Former Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain contributed his drumming to two tracks, "Bore Me" and "Fits". The album was mixed by Matt Bayles. The album's cover art was illustrated by Beth Haidle. The album's songs feature a mellow sound influenced by Frank Black, Rufus Wainwright, and The Rolling Stones. The album charted at number 37 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. Greg Prato of Allmusic said, "While not as strong as his output with Brad, Bayleaf still has its moments."