In August 2001, whilst on a short tour of Europe with Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins was admitted to hospital following a suspected drug overdose in his London hotel room. Hawkins was in a coma for several days but after coming around quickly made a recovery and with the rest of the European tour dates cancelled, was admitted to a rehab facility in the United States.
Whilst Hawkins was getting treatment Michael Aloi, a friend of his that had helped him build a studio at his property had been left in the position of house sitter and looking after his dog at the house. With Hawkins still in rehab Dave Grohl would also start visiting the house and whilst there on one occasion decided to quickly set up some equipment and continue working on ideas and demos for the next Foo Fighters album, taking his mind off the problems Hawkins was having.
The first track Grohl recorded at the house was an early version of 'Halo'. The overall structure of the song was largely identical to the version released on One By One with only a few notable differences such as a simpler bass line that followed the guitar parts, a drum track missing a few fills later added by Hawkins and simpler guitar parts with fewer overdubs. The track was also slightly faster in tempo at this point in its life.
Next was 'Come Back' and naturally this very early version was structurally similar to the 'Million Dollar Demo' (MDD) version of the song recorded in January, rather than the later reworked version featured on One By One, reworked at a later session. The only real difference in this version was a palm muted guitar track present during the intro and being shorter overall by a few seconds.
At the time of the recording session the third track Grohl put down was not given a title however it was actually a very early version of what would later become the song 'She's Giving In', released by Jackson United, a side project of Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett on their 2004 album 'Western Ballads'.
The original Grohl composition recorded at this session was much more barebones in comparison to the Jackson version, a much slower tempo and the feel of the track more relaxed in general. The guitar parts recorded by Grohl were simple and clean, no frantic leads as found in the Jackson version. Drums were similarly light and basic although it did feature more pronounced hi-hat work during the intro. The bass was again much simpler, a straightforward walking bass line throughout most of the track.
Like 'Come Back' the next track recorded by Grohl, 'Lonely As You', was similar in structure to the MDD version of the track rather than the final version released on One By One. Details on how those versions differ can be found in the relevant articles below. This version differed slightly from the MDD version with the intro featuring rhythm guitar as well as the main riff and the guitar solo towards the end of the track not present, added by Shiflett in the later recordings.
The fifth track was again an original Grohl composition that later became a Jackson United track, 'Only Shadows'. At the time of Grohl recording it the track was again untitled and whilst the structure of the song was generally the same like the first untitled song it was much simpler and a lot more relaxed than the later Jackson United version. The drumming on the track was much more subdued as was the guitar, featuring only a very simple rhythm track throughout with no heavy riffs or overdubs.
Finally at this session Grohl recorded an early version of the track 'Burn Away' which differed from later versions in several ways. First of all the opening in this version was vastly different, a relaxed guitar intro with basic piano keys heard faintly in the background. The track then explodes into life with heavy drumming by Grohl, only then does the main riff kick in as later versions began. Throughout the track the drum parts varied a lot from the later version as did the guitar, the palm muted guitar section of that version not present during the verses. The bridge section of the song was also longer on this version, as was the song overall by nearly a minute.
According to Aloi who recorded the session as well as creating rough mixes Grohl played on all instruments but did not record vocals for any of the tracks. The session was mixed directly to DAT and CD from the Makie console and they would have likely been taken back to the whole band to be worked on further once Hawkins had left rehab and they'd reconvened at Studio 606 in Virginia.
Four of the tracks would go on to be recorded several times and eventually included on their 2002 album One By One but the two untitled tracks would, as noted above, be dismissed as Foo Fighters songs and instead given to Shiflett and reworked into songs on debut Jackson United (Then just Jackson) album 'Western Ballads', released in 2004. None of the recordings from this session have ever been publicly released.