After taking a more pop approach to Black and White, the band wished to return to a simpler sound and record an album that they were truly happy with. They began setting up a studio in a rented storefront and called upon T-Bone Burnett (producer of their debut album) to work with them once again, this time in an executive producer role. They originally tracked 30 songs live as a full band, but under the advice of their record label, all except for "Closer to Free" were re-recorded with Kurt Neumann playing most of the instruments himself. The resulting album was more acoustic and laid-back. In 1996, "Closer to Free" was selected as the theme song to the TV series Party of Five. It was subsequently re-released as a single and became the band's biggest hit.
Music critic William Ruhlmann, writing for AllMusic, wrote that the album "may have been the statement of a band that had been through a lot and reached a point of emotional exhaustion, but the BoDeans used their experience to craft their most deeply felt and satisfying music." Likewise, Thom Jurek of Rolling Stone stated: "Go Slow Down reveals the BoDeans in firm control of their musical vision" and "is perhaps the finest album to date by a band that keeps on growing. With any justice, it should make the BoDeans more than critics' favorites."