Joining original members Levon Helm (drums/mandolin/guitar/vocal), Rick Danko (bass/guitar/vocal) and Garth Hudson (organ/keyboards/horns) were Jim Weider (who had played guitar for the group from the time of their 1983 reformation), Randy Ciarlante (who had joined on drums in 1990) and Richard Bell (who had joined as keyboardist in 1991). In addition to this sextet, there were an additional fourteen musicians. Having such a large amount of guests would be commonplace on the latter-day group's albums.
In 1985, the Band went into the studio for the first time since 1977 with the intent of recording tracks for an eventual album. Richard Manuel had recently expressed interest in writing new material for the group, and had written "Breaking New Ground" with Gerry Goffin and Carole King. However, on March 6, 1986, Manuel was found dead of suicide, and the Band abandoned efforts to make an album for several years.
In 1990, Sony offered the Band a recording contract. The group hired fellow Hawks member Stan Szelest to replace Manuel on keyboards, and proceeded to record new material with songwriter Jules Shear. However, these recordings were rejected by Sony, who suggested the group take submissions from various songwriters. Just as recording continued, Szelest died of a heart attack. The Band then requested release from Sony and found a new contract with Great Pyramid Records. Without Manuel or Robbie Robertson as songwriters, the group relied mostly on outside sources, such as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Bruce Springsteen, and their friends Bob Dylan and Artie Traum. A few sessions also involved Champion Jack Dupree. "Country Boy", a song from the 1985 sessions with Manuel on vocals, was also selected for inclusion on the album. John Simon, who had produced the Band's first two albums, was again brought in to produce what would ultimately become Jericho. The album was finally completed in 1993, with new members Richard Bell, Randy Ciarlante and Jim Wieder on keyboards, second drums and lead guitar respectively.