In the liner notes, Metheny called One Quiet Night a homemade album that was recorded with one guitar, one microphone, and mistakes. Most of the album was recorded in one day, November 24, 2001, with additional recording in January 2003. He included two of his favorite songs, "My Song" by Keith Jarrett and "Ferry Cross the Mersey" by Gerry and the Pacemakers, and a more recent favorite, "Don't Know Why" by Jesse Harris, made popular by vocalist Norah Jones; "Last Train Home", which he had been playing on baritone guitar during a tour; and two new songs, "Song for the Boys" and "Over on 4th Street". Metheny produced the album. Steve Rodby was co-producer.